Sensitization Mechanisms for Foreign Armed Groups

The sensitization mechanisms for foreign armed groups are multidimensional. This mechanism is to ensure that these illegal armed groups are sensitized to the DDRRR processes, unfolding developments in their home countries, packages and benefits they will accrue when they enter the voluntary DDRRR process. The DDR/RR Section’s objective is to ensure that ex-combatants of foreign armed groups return home in peace, dignity, and security. As a result, various sensitization components have been put in place to give impetus to this initiative. They include: 

Mobile Radio Stations: There are 14 mobile radio stations deployed in strategic locations in North and South Kivu, and Oriental provinces. These stations are vital to the sensitization efforts because they enable the DDRRR section to reach out to its clients in remote locations. Considering that these illegal foreign armed groups are always on the move, these mobile stations are so portable that they allow the teams to follow and target them with specific messages produced by national and international staff. Each mobile radio broadcast covers about 50-60 kilometers radius. The mobile radio stations compliment the UN radio, OKAPI, especially in areas where its signals do not cover. DDR/RR also produces and presents a daily 30-minute sensitization radio program (GUTAHUKA) targeting the FDLR.

Leaflets: The production of leaflets is a component of the sensitization mechanism. In the past two years, nearly 500 thousand leaflets targeting the FDLR, LRA and the ADF armed groups have been produced and distributed. The messages are written in the languages of the combatants. These leaflets explain how to enter the DDRRR process, how to contact MONUSCO, where they should go, and what they should expect once they enter the voluntary DDRRR program. Most of these leaflets are distributed through airdrops. 

Photo-flyers: The Public Information cell of the DDRRR section produces flyers containing photos of ex-combatants who turn up in the DDRRR transit camps in eastern DR Congo and Rwanda. The photos are distributed by helicopters and DDRRR sensitizers in the field sites. Opinion poll indicates that the combatants prefer these flyers because they are anxious to see their friends, relatives, and loved ones on the flyers. The photos are meant to convince those who continued to remain in the forest that their colleagues have returned home. The back of each flyer carries a special message encouraging the remaining combatants to enter the voluntary DDRRR process. 

Face to face interaction with combatants in the forest: Most of our sensitizers are trained and deployed into the field sites where they can easily have contacts with our clients. This proximity helps us to sensitize and convince them to enter the voluntary DDRRR process. Our sensitizers are usually escorted by contingents of MONUSCO deployed in the area.

Video Sensitization: This aspect is to provide images of ex-combatants who have returned and doing well in Rwanda. DDR/RR activities and benefits of ex-combatants are also shown to entice FDLR combatants still loitering in the forest to surrender. Images of Rwanda and special messages of security guarantee from the various authorities including Rwanda, DR Congo, and MONUSCO are recorded and shown on a giant screen in field locations. The concept is to persuade DDR/RR clients to believe by seeing realities. Recorded films are usually shown in areas where there are either FDLR sympathizers among the local population or FDLR combatants.