The opaque equation of how to best disarm rebels has stumped policy makers, frustrated governments, and caused continued violence. Cash-transfers, community reintegration measures, and job training programs have all had fairly dismal results. Now, MONUC is on the cutting-edge of disarmament policy in the DRC. They’re using the hotline:
MONUC peacekeepers are using broadcasts from mobile radio stations, mobile phones and leaflets air-dropped over hostile territory, to encourage rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, FDLR to quit the bush in eastern Congo and accept safe passage to Rwanda. The news of peaceful homecomings and the mass distribution of mobile telephone numbers to call when rebels want to surrender their weapons, made it possible for rebels like Colonel Ngoboka Rachid of the rebel Group ‘Raliement Pour Unite’ et la Democratie’ (RUD) to surrender to MONUC in the remote village of Mashuta in Luofu, North Kivu last month.
Facilitating access for rebels who want to disarm is key. Setting up a hotline is a great way to do that. I imagine the message on the helpline starts something like:
Than you for calling MONUC’s 1-800-I’m-A-Rebel hotline. If you are a member of the FDLR, press 1. If you are a member of the APCLS, press 2. Mai Mai, press 3….