Wednesday, July 24, 2024
NewsThe National Rehabilitation Commission to prepare 16 camps for over 371k ex-combatants

The National Rehabilitation Commission to prepare 16 camps for over 371k ex-combatants

Lack of funds remains major setback for rehabilitation work

Rehabilitation Commission (NRC) is preparing 16 camps to rehabilitate over 371,900 former combatants across eight regions.

Established at the end of last year with a regulation approved by the Council of Ministers shortly after the Pretoria peace accord, the NRC is tasked with demobilizing and rehabilitating former combatants.

Currently in its preparation stage, the Commission is gearing up to begin its first phase of demobilization, which was previously scheduled for September but was extended due to resource constraints.

Logistical needs such as operational campsites are among the preparations underway, according to Commissioner Teshome Toga (Ambassador). The total planned number of camps is 16, with 10 located in the Tigray Regional State.

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“Some regions will have a small number of former combatants, requiring no camps be built. It depends on the number of former combatants each region has,” Teshome said, providing an explanation for why not all eight regions will have camps.

The Commission’s establishment was initiated as per provisions in the peace agreement signed between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in Pretoria, South Africa, last November. The agreement mandates the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of combatants.

“While the initial idea was to demobilize combatants in Tigray following the peace accord, the Commission was established to rehabilitate all combatants across the country,” Teshome told The Reporter.

Nevertheless, the largest number of former combatants registered by the NRC is still from Tigray. Approximately 70 percent of the 371,900 combatants are from Tigray, where 10 camps are needed.

Oromia and Amhara regional states have the second-highest numbers of former combatants currently disarmed and awaiting the demobilization and rehabilitation processes.

The number of former combatants in Oromia and Amhara could also increase should peace agreements be reached between the federal government and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA Shene), and if the situation in the Amhara region stabilizes.

A lack of sufficient resources could pose a major setback for the success of the rehabilitation work, as the Commissioner fears it has the potential to undermine the program’s progress. “We will need very large resources for it, which could be one of the largest setbacks,” he said.

According to Teshome, the process of demobilizing citizens who were once mobilized for war will follow strict procedures including conducting psychiatric and political rehabilitation as well as providing skills training.

In addition to its main office in Addis Ababa, the Commission currently has a team based in Tigray, which is working with the region’s interim administration on selecting campsites and other pre-operational work.

Ed Note: In this story, we first reported that the National Rehabilitation Commission will build 16 camps to rehabilitate over 371,900 former combatants. However, we have learned that the Commission will not build all 16 planned camps as it will utilize some existing facilities. Not all 16 camps will be newly constructed. The Commission clarified that they will “have 16 camps to rehabilitate over 371,971 former combatants across the affected eight regions,” but some of these camps will utilize pre-existing infrastructure rather than being entirely new constructions.

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