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Demobilization of combatants after civil wars in Africa and their reintegration into civilian life

Release date: 1997-08

In the past few years, several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa conducted large scale demobilizations. These are positive signs and create opportunities for sustainable peace and human development. However, demobilization appears to be a complex process. It is closely linked to security issues; and the impact of demobilization depends largely on whether the ex-combatants are able to reintegrate. Demobilized soldiers and guerrilla fighters have usually great difficulties re-establishing themselves in civilian life. Frustrated ex-combatants may jeopardize the peace and development process. This paper identifies on the bases of the recent experiences some of the risks that are involved in demobilization and several conditions that have to be met in order for demobilization to attain a lasting positive impact on peace and human development in Africa.