Over 400 fighters to lay down arms in Sudan’s Darfur


UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) — The United Nations on Monday announced that more than 400 ex-combatants will lay down arms this week as part of the disarmament campaign in Sudan’s Darfur.

The disarmament and reintegration exercise is run by the UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan (UNAMID). The over 400 individuals were soldiers with the Sudanese armed forces as well as with rebel movements.

They will undergo security screenings, medical exams and psychological assessments as part of the disarmament exercise, which begins this Monday in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state.

Furthermore, the former fighters will participate in workshops on reintegrating into civil society, receive job training and be given an allowance to help them re-establish themselves in the community.

The campaign, run jointly with the North Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Commission, followed the similar initiative in South Darfur state in which around 1,100 soldiers laid down arms last month in Nyala.

In April, UNAMID supported another disarmament program in El Geneina, West Darfur. The ten-day process was organized by the National Sudanese Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Coordination Council, with logistical support from UNAMID and other local organizations.

Darfur has been severely affected by the armed conflict between rebels and government forces. In February 2003, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebelled against the Sudanese government due to the oppression of non-Arab people in Darfur.

After years of fighting, the Sudanese government and the JEM agreed on a ceasefire in February 2010. An estimated 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million others displaced so far.

More than 23,000 troops, military observers and police officers and nearly 4,500 civilians serve with UNAMID, which took over peacekeeping duties from an earlier African Union mission at the start of 2008.

The force is tasked with protecting civilians, promoting an inclusive peace process and help ensuring the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance across Darfur, an arid region on Sudan’s western flank.

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