Home | News    Wednesday 1 September 2010

Since peace deal south Sudan has failed to demobilize 84,000 soldiers

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By James Gatdet Dak

August 31, 2010 (JUBA) – Out of 90,000 soldiers targeted to be demobilized by the SPLA – the former rebels who govern south Sudan – since a 2005 peace deal with the Khartoum government, only 6,000 have been reintegrated back into society, says the Vice President of the semi-autonomous region.

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100 child soldiers saluted their commander (file photo by AFP)

Riek Machar, said that the national Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programme for ex-combatants in southern Sudan would be reviewed following the difficulties faced during schemes implementation over the last five years.

DDR is a process by which former fighters are removed from the army and assisted to reintegrate into civilian communities.

Since the north-south civil war ended in 2005 the southern government has only managed to demobilize 7% (6,000) of the 90,000 they originally targeted.

The first soldiers targeted for demobilization were categorized as a ‘Special Needs Group’, including elderly combatants, women soldiers below the rank of officer, disabled fighters, the sick and non-combat support personnel who are on the payroll of the army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

In remarks during the inauguration of the new building for the DDR Commisson, Riek Machar said it was not an easy exercise to tell someone who has fought for 22 years – the length of the north-south civil war - to leave the army and go home now there is peace. He added the issue is a dilemma for policy makers and should be reviewed so that the process can be done faster.

The Vice President said that this group needed to receive support and training so that they become self-reliant instead of reintegrating them into the poverty that exists in many parts of south Sudan. He said in the Sudanese law, any person who has served for 12 years can be given a pension.

Machar said that he hoped the DDR Commsion will give ex-combatants the skills they require to make a success of civilian life and to help support themselves and their families in the future.

The programme, the Vice President said, “provides short-term support to ex-combatants as they make the transition from soldier to civilian life. This takes the form of food rations for a family of five for 3 months, a basic kit of non-food items, plus a grant of just 860 SDG to help with transportation home.”

On Monday the southern government announced it would demobilize all child soldiers from the SPLA by the end of the year.

UNICEF estimate that there are still 900 child soldiers in the ranks of the former southern rebels nearly 6 years after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) officially ended hostilities between the SPLA and Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party.

(ST)

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  • 1 September 2010 04:07, by Jerie

    The Vice President has done marvelously by not blaming the DDR but actually pointing the difficulties they face.

    Before you jump to conclusions and start blaming the DDR for getting paid and failing in their work, you should consider the repercussions of forcing a 22-year SPLA veteran into retirement. By now, Gen. George Athor would’ve mobilized them into his ’renegade’ army had they been forced to retire.

    At least their failure is a blessing in disguise!

    repondre message

  • 1 September 2010 07:36, by Jakok Loakloak

    Gadet,
    I always marvel your reports; but this one carry some sediments. Why would you post an old picture that has no relevance what so ever to the posted topic? You rightfully know that SPLA does not carry minors in their ranks and files. SPLA as is well known today, could barely recognise Paul Dor Lampuar as a member despite his heroic contributions during Anyanya One Movement, Anyanya two and the infamous rebelion of Bor Garrison in 1983. What make you think SPLA can pay minors who more often possess no knowledge of their rights?
    This picture totally discredit your report and prove how much fallaciuos you sometimes can be!!!!

    repondre message

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