IOM Supports South Sudan Demobilization, Reintegration of Former Fighters
GENEVA, Switzerland, May 11, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A group of 285 former South Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers this week graduated from vocational training courses designed to reintegrate them into civilian life in the country's Eastern Equatoria State.
The courses, supported by the South Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Commission, in partnership with UNDP and IOM, have graduated a total 5,755 former soldiers nationwide over the past five months.
As part of UNDP-funded South Sudan DDR programme, IOM offers support to ex-combatants in skills development and provides assets to create livelihood, improve their economic opportunities and provide them with adequate income to facilitate their transition back into civil society. Their reintegration also contributes to the development of their communities.
The programme, launched in mid 2010, targeted 12,525 candidates. IOM has now provided reintegration assistance to over half of them in four of the ten South Sudan states, including Warrap, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Eastern Equatoria States.
This week's graduates were trained as drivers, small business operators, food processors, auto mechanics and carpenters.
Lotiras Jino Murise, demobilized from the SPLA in 2008, chose to be trained as an auto mechanic. He said that he had benefitted from the training and looked forward to being able to find a job now that he had a trade. "Without a trade, it would be very difficult to adjust to civilian life," he said.
The second phase of the South Sudan DDR Programme will be launched later this year, targeting 150,000 former combatants. This will make it the largest and the most ambitious DDR program worldwide.
IOM has been implementing DDR in Africa for 20 years in 12 countries, including Angola, Congo Brazzaville, Côte d'Ivoire, the DRC, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda. Currently, IOM is implementing DDR projects in the DRC, Uganda and South Sudan, and security sector reform projects in Somalia, the DRC and Sierra Leone.