AU trains Somali officials on reintegration of ex-Al-Shabaab militants

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has started a five-day training programme on how to counter violent extremism and reintegrating Al-Shabaab defectors.

AMISOM said Tuesday that the training of 20 officials drawn from Defector Rehabilitation Programme (DRP) will help participants identify actors and institutions involved in countering violent extremism.

AMISOM’s Senior Civil Affairs Officer and Head of Stabilisation and Recovery Ododa Opiyo said the programme will offer the DRP staff with comprehensive understanding of the principles and procedures involved in planning and coordinating the implementation of defectors’ reintegration programmes.

“It is important that we are bringing together all stakeholders involved in this subject from all over the country.

“We are glad we are all coming together to help defectors,” Opiyo said in a statement released in Mogadishu.

Somalia’s Director of the DRP Cabdirashiid Maxamed said the trainees are also expected to interlink defector rehabilitation and countering violent extremism.

“You can understand the risk they can cause if not well integrated,” he explained, in reference to former members of Al-Shabaab and other armed groups.

The DRP works with AMISOM to screen defectors, and is supported by the country’s National Intelligence Service.

Moxamed said at least 2,000 defectors have already been successfully reintegrated into society, since the program began six years ago.

He said the programme had initiated 10 rehabilitation centres in Somalia, three for adults and seven for children.(Xinhua/NAN)

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