Rehabilitation Centre for Disengaged Combatants Opens in Beletweyne
Beletweyne, 5 November 2013 – The Director General of the Ministry of Interior and National Security, Mr. Ali Abtidon Halane, today opened the Hiil Walaal Rehabilitation Centre for disengaged combatants in Beletweyne, in the Hiiran region of Somalia.
As part of its mandate, UNSOM supports security sector reform and the rule of law in Somalia, including the disengagement of combatants.
Present at the launch were the Governor of the Hiiran region, Mr. Abdi Farah Laqanyo, Chief of Staff of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Gen. Osman Nour Soubagleh, regional government officials and representatives from the United Nations.
“It is important that after they are disengaged, they get vocational training skills and once they are rehabilitated, they will use these skills to give back to the community instead of destruction and killing,” said Mr. Halane.
The Hiil Walaal facility was made possible with the support of the governments of Norway, Denmark and Spain.
Speaking on behalf of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG), Mr. Nicholas Kay, a senior political affairs officer for the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) thanked the Djibouti contingent of AMISOM and Ethiopian troops in the region for their support with security and water supply to the centre.
“We congratulate the Federal Government of Somalia on opening the centre, which falls under the National Programme for Disengaging Combatants and Youth at Risk,” he said. “Disengagement is a key objective of the compact between Somalia and the international community, which was reached last September in Brussels.”
“Many of those who are associated with Al Shabaab are people who made a wrong choice; given the opportunity, they would like to engage again with society,” the UNSOM official added. “Those cleared by the government are provided, as part of their rehabilitation, with skills training and civic education.”
The centre becomes only the second such facility in the country, and the first outside the capital, Mogadishu.