More than 300 former combatants in Darfur, including women and disabled persons, have participated in a three-day discharge programme organized by the Government of Sudan with support from the joint African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur.
The programme is expected to be extended to other parts of Darfur, targeting a total of 5000 former combatants affiliated with signatories to the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) who were disarmed in July 2008 when they formally surrendered their weapons.
The Government is providing cash payments of 400 Sudanese Pounds, around $150, for each participant, to be followed by food vouchers and other services after two months.
The AU-UN mission, known as UNAMID, is offering logistical support to the exercise, including security, transport and health services.
UNAMID’s contribution will help the Government in its efforts to strengthen the peace process and improve the overall security situation across Darfur, where some 300 000 people have been killed and an estimated 2.7 million others displaced from their homes since fighting began in 2003, pitting Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen against rebel groups.
Beneficiaries of the just-ended programme in the North Darfur capital of El Fasher include members of the Sudanese Armed Forces, People’s Defence Forces, and the Sudan Liberation Army/Mother Wing.
The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme is part of the final security arrangement of the DPA, which paved the way for the deployment of UNAMID at the start of last year.