Ex-Combatants Complete UN-Led Demobilization
Ex-combatants complete UN-led demobilization process in Côte d'Ivoire
13 May 2008 - Nearly 200 ex-combatants with the rebel Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles (FAFN) have been given diplomas by the United Nations after completing a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme at Ferkessédougou in the north of Côte d'Ivoire.
The ceremony was attended by Ivorian Government ministers and the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, Georg Charpentier, who also laid the first stone for a new education centre adapted for the reintegration of ex-combatants.
Michel Amani N'Guessan, the Ivorian Defence Minister, said: "The time for war has passed. We must build and make peace now with concrete acts."
A spokesperson for the ex-combatants, Diarrassouba Ibrahima, assured the international community that the group was committed to the process and wanted the reintegration to happen as quickly as possible.
The 192 ex-combatants, including 12 women, all completed a course in cooperative management.
Côte d'Ivoire became divided in 2002 between the Government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north, but last year's Ouagadougou Peace Agreement paved the way for an end to the conflict and included a provision calling for free and fair elections to be held. Last month it was announced that presidential elections would be held in November.