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Official Says MONUC Continues Help with Integrating Ex-Combatants Into Army

VOA News | Published on February 11, 2010
Militaires congolais

An official of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) says the group has been successful in helping with the integration of tens of thousands of former combatants into Congo’s national army.

Kevin Kennedy, MONUC's Public Information director said contrary to initial reports, the group has not issued an ultimatum to Congo’s remaining armed groups either to integrate into the national army FARDC or become civilians.

“First of all, we did not issue any sort of ultimatum. In fact, the ultimatum that has been issued had been issued by the Congolese authorities. There had been various exercises in the course of last 10 years in which various armed groups have been either disarmed demobilized or have entered into the Congolese national army,” he said.

There was speculation that MONUC gave a 45-day ultimatum to the remaining armed groups either to integrate into the national army or become civilians.

But Kennedy said the government signed peace agreements with various armed groups that would ensure their integration into the national army.

“There have been a number of agreements that have brought this about. The most recent one was in March of last year, and there have been a number of armed groups that have been integrated into the Congolese army during that period…The government… basically set a deadline now for those that remain. MONUC is in the business of helping the authorities of the DRC to disarm and demobilize or to integrate former members of armed groups within the terms and conditions that the government set down for those exercises,” Kennedy said.

President Joseph Kabila’s government recently issued an ultimatum to various armed groups either to integrate into the national army FARDC or face a possible military action.

MONUC has so far helped with the administration’s efforts to integrate former combatants into the Congolese national army.

Kennedy said MONUC will continue supporting efforts to reintegrate former combatants into either the national army or into society.

“The assistance with disarmament, demobilization, and the reintegration of former combatants into society or their integration into the army has been something that MONUC has done for a number of years. MONUC supports the Congolese efforts along those lines, as do different parts of the UN system and the international community,” Kennedy said.

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