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Former militiamen now form army's 4th Brigade

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GOMA, 23 Aug 2005 (IRIN) - The demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration process (DDR) of 3,200 militiamen ended on Monday in Mushaki District, 30 km south of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, national Defense Minister Adolphe Onusumba said.

He said the disbanded fighters now formed the 4th brigade of the national army and were commanded by Col Willy Bonane, former member of the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie-Goma. The brigade will now be deployed to the troubled northeastern district of Ituri, to reinforce the 1st brigade of the integrated national army.

With Belgian and other foreign help, the Congolese government has been integrating fighters of former rival armed factions into a new national army.

The vice-president in charge of the nation's Defense and Security Commission, Ruberwa Azarias, said it was only in Ituri that armed groups were continuing to kill and loot the population.

"Whatever difficulties you are going to face in Ituri, we expect from you an improvement in human rights situation," Ruberwa told the new soldiers.


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