August 29, 2012 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s vice president, Riek Machar, said Wednesday that 150,000 ex-combatants will undergo the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process into the civil population.
- Vice President, Riek Machar, at the inauguration of Mapel center for ex-combatants as Chinese performers provide a cultural demonstration, Western Bahr El Ghazal, South 29 August 2012 (ST)
During the inauguration of the Chinese built facilities for ex-combatants in the Mapel area of Western Bahr el Ghazal State, Machar urged for similar facilities to be built across the ten states of the region to prepare them for their transition.
The project was initiated by the DDR commission in South Sudan in support of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The Chinese contingent in the mission through the Chinese Horizontal Engineering Company (CHEC) implemented the project.
Since a 2005 peace deal, which ended decades of conflict South Sudan’s DDR programme has aimed to reduce the number of of people in the former rebel army - the SPLA - that fought various Khartoum government’s. In 2011 the SPLA became the national army of the independent Republic of South Sudan, when the province seceded.
CHEC also constructed a 10kms road from Mapel to the main road which connects Western Equatoria State with Lakes and Warrap states.
- A Chinese man performs sports activities at the inauguration ceremony of Mapel DDR center, Western Bahr El Ghazal, South Sudan, 29 August 2012 (ST)
The centre will be used for training ex-combatants in various skills to sustain self-reliance, including acquiring skills in addition to some temporary benefits that will be availed by the authorities concerned.
The Chinese have already trained 45 youth members from the local community in agricultural activities.
The Vice President called on the local communities in the area to make use of the new road by engaging in trading with other states. He was accompanied to Mapel by the chairperson of the DDR commission, William Deng Deng, and some senior executive officials and military officers.