Friday, February 10, 2012

South Sudan: Work begins on training centre for ex-soldiers

Children play in a returnee camp on the outskirts of Aweil in Northern Bahr el-Ghazal, Southern Sudan. Photo: IRIN/Siegfried Modola9

February 2012 –
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan has helped to launch the construction of a training centre in the west of the country that is aimed at helping former soldiers disarm, demobilize and return to civilian life.

Former soldiers attending the centre, to be built on land donated by the state Government of Western Bahr el-Ghazal, will receive training in livelihood skills and other measures to help them enter the job market, including basic literacy and business skills.

Participants will also take part in wage-earning work such as developing or maintaining infrastructure at the facility.

The facility is being jointly backed by the mission (UNMISS) and the national Government through its disarmament commission, the mission said in a press release issued on Tuesday.

The new centre will contain offices, classrooms, registration and counselling rooms, recreation facilities, accommodation, dining and assembly areas, and the first batch of 500 ex-combatants are expected to start training in April.

Khaled Mustafa, the deputy chief of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) operations at UNMISS, said the centre was part of the mission’s efforts to support the Government as it re-sizes the army and other armed forces.

For more than two decades Sudan was engulfed by civil war until the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005. Last year South Sudan seceded from the rest of the country after voters overwhelmingly backed the move in a referendum, but thousands of former soldiers now face the challenge of reintegrating into civilian life.