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Moving Toward Peace - Demobilizing Burundi's Ex-Combatants

In Burundi, the UN mission is helping disarm and demobilize ex-combatants, as the Arusha Peace Accords of 2000 take hold. Also, this month, the government established a truth and reconciliation commission. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians have died in the country’s civil war.

Colonel Mbaye Faye is in charge of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration program for the UN mission, known as ONUB. From the capital, Bujumbura, he spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the status of the DDR program.

He says 3,363 ex-combatants have been demobilized, including 618 child soldiers and 94 women. He says just over 1,000 of the ex-combatants came from the former national army and over 2300 from the rebel groups. Col. Faye says some of the ex-combatants will be reintegrated into the army and police.

Others will take part in micro-credit programs to allow them to start their own small businesses in their villages. He says the goal is to demobilize about 14,000 people a year.