North West : Ex-combatants Gain Employment

More armed fighters encouraged to drop guns and join the Bamenda DDR Centre which offers several gainful opportunities for personal development and nation building.

Opportunities for more gainful life for armed fighters who drop guns in the North West region have been stressed with revelations that the first set of 32 ex-combatants who dropped guns in the region have been recruited by the Cameroon Telecommunications Company, (CAMTEL). The Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR), Regional Chief of Centre;  Gabsa  Sixtus told  Cameroon Tribune on June 18,2020 that  the government’s commitment to give  chance to armed fighters who drop guns is evident with the integration of the first set of graduates from the centre who now serve in CAMTEL agencies across the country.
In an interview with CT yesterday June 24; 2020,  Mr Gabsa disclosed that “at the moment, the centre is into a partnership with the National Civic service Agency for Participation in Development; which is about to launch a more elaborate poultry centre to train ex-combatants and help them with resources to establish their own poultries.” He added that the centre recruits psycho-spiritual and social councillors who work together to train the ex-combatants in citizenship, livelihood skills, ICT etc. It equally offers a huge sports package in the conviction that sports is crucial for reconversion. On the attitude of ex-fighters who join the centre from the bushes, the Regional Coordinator said, “they come to the center looking violent and traumatised. They gradually change with the training received and later become more tolerant and show a more humane behaviour.”
Gabsa announced that the reintegration process is on course and the next set of ex-combatants will soon be declared good for service to the nation. The centre suffers some challenges of inadequate accommodation with over 150 ex-combatants on roll but CT was told that the government is building a permanent 300-capacity modern dormitory in the neighbourhood of the Bamenda/Bafut airport. The facility features modern toilets, kitchen, refectory, playground and workshop opportunities. 
It is against this backdrop that Gabsa Sixtus appealed to armed fighters still in the bushes to rush towards the DDR Centre which inspires hope and a better future. He urged them to avoid deceit and some false narratives from some of the nation's Diasporans who have nothing to show for their future. It was a rare moment for the Chief of Centre to debunk social media literature that some ex-combatants of the centre have been killed. He reassured that the centre is not a prison but a structure that stands solidly by human rights and the International Humanitarian Law.
The Bamenda DDR Centre received their first enrolment of ex-combatants in December 2018 and Gabsa Sixtus sounds off that the Centre offers good shelter, three meals daily, healthcare and other basic needs of hope. The Centre offers opportunities in pedagogic competences and vocational skills in agriculture, poultry, piggery, gardening and software. They are considering other opportunities in driving skills, tailoring, hair dressing and cosmetology.



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