Demobilization: Ouagadougou Political Agreement (OPA)

OUAGADOUGOU POLITICAL AGREEMENT 

3.2. National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Programme

3.2.1. The Parties to this Agreement undertake to disarm their respective forces as soon as possible, in accordance with the recommendations of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement and the modalities laid down in the following military agreements:
The Joint Plan for DDR Operations (PCO) signed on 9 January 2004 and updated at the seminar on disarmament held from 2 to 6 May 2005 in Yamoussoukro under the auspices of the South African mediation. The National DDR Programme and its accompanying timetable adopted on 9 July 2005 in Yamassoukro. The conclusions of the working meeting held in Yamoussoukro on Saturday 14 May 2005 between the Chiefs of Staff of FANCI and FAFN.

3.2.2. The Parties agree to accelerate the disbanding and disarmament of militias.

3.2.3. The Parties agree to accelerate the process of assembly of the combatants on the 17 previously identified sites and to abide by the updated DDR timetable.

Implementation History

2007

Minimum Implementation

In the Ouagadougou Political Agreement, parties agreed to the national disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program. The parties committed themselves to various agreements negotiated before the Ouagadougou Political Agreement was signed, including the 17 previously identified and agreed-upon sites for the assembly of the combatants. The accord also provided for the establishment of the Integrated Command Centre, which was tasked with carrying out the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of ex-combatants.

No significant progress was made in terms of the demobilization of former combatants other than establishing the Integrated Command Centre on 16 April following a presidential decree on 16 March 2007.1 Nevertheless, by the end of 2007 both sides had agreed on the number of Forces Nouvelles combatants to be integrated into the national army (5,000), the police force (4,000), and civic services (20,000), as well as reintegration into civilian lives (6,000), totaling 35,000 personnel.2 Since Forces Nouvelles insisted on the integration of its combatants into the national army without disarming them, an estimated 30,000 Forces Nouvelles combatants had to go through the demobilization process.

  • 1. “Ivory Coast Takes Step to Unify Military Forces,” New York Times, March 17, 2007; “Fourteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2007/593), October 1, 2007.
  • 2. “Fifteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council, (S/2008/1), January 2, 2008.
2008

Intermediate Implementation

The third supplementary agreement set 22 December 2007 as the deadline for the commencement of the cantonment process for the state as well as the Forces Nouvelles forces. As reported on 24 January, 12,000 soldiers in the Defence and Security Forces were cantoned and registered. As of 1 April 2008, there were only 109 Forces Nouvelles ex-combatants cantoned.3 Among cantoned combatants, only the Forces Nouvelles combatants were to be demobilized.

By the end of the year, 11,364 out of a total of 34,678 combatants declared by Forces Nouvelles were cantoned, 455 of which were female combatants. Among cantoned combatants, “7,598 have chosen to be demobilized, including 802 foreign combatants (from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, the Niger, Nigeria and Togo), and 3,766 have expressed interest in joining the new national army” (U.N. Security Council, 2008).4As progress on DDR did not move smoothly, parties negotiated a fourth supplementary agreement on 22 December 2008 that called for the completion of the DDR process two-months prior to the elections.5

  • 3. “Sixteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council, (S/2008/250), April 15, 2008.
  • 4. “Eighteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2008/645), October 13, 2008.
  • 5. “Nineteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2009/21), January 8, 2009.
2009

Intermediate Implementation

Significant progress was made in terms of demobilizing Forces Nouvelles combatants. By the end of the year, a total of 16,081 Forces Nouvelles combatants were demobilized. It was also estimated that an additional 12,000 Forces Nouvelles combatants would be demobilized.6

Some progress was also made towards registering government militia members. The Integrated Command Center and the national program for reinsertion and community rehabilitation finished the registration process for the government militia. There were 37,436 government militia members registered for the demobilization and rehabilitation program.7

  • 6. “United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (23rd progress report),” United Nations Security Council (S/2010/15), January 7, 2010.
  • 7. “Twenty-first progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2009/344), July 7, 2009.
2010

Intermediate Implementation

By 2010, 32,777 Forces Nouvelles combatants were registered, 23,777 of which were to be demobilized. By the end of the year, 17,601 combatants were demobilized. The demobilized combatants received a $200 cash allowance. Among those who choose to be reintegrated back into society, only a few had received reinsertion support through micro-projects.8 Only 17,301 militia members out of 37,436 were dismantled or demobilized.9

  • 8. “Twenty-sixth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2010/600), November 23, 2010.
  • 9. “Twenty-sixth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2010/600), November 23, 2010.
2011

Intermediate Implementation

After the contested elections and the subsequent recurrence of conflict between the Forces Nouvelles and the supporters of president Gbagbo, the DDR process stalled. This occurred mostly because the state’s Defence and Security Forces remained politically divided. By the end of 2011, it was estimated that there were approximately 40,000 to 60,000 combatants comprised of official armed groups (state police, gendarmerie, former Republican guard, and Forces Nouvelles), militias and self-defence forces, and foreign armed elements. Among the 20,000 combatants that joined the FRCI (formerly Forces Nouvelles) during the conflict, 18,000 were said to have gone through the disarmament and remobilization process, of which 2,500 were cantoned for the purpose of demobilization.10

  • 10. “Twenty-ninth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2011/807), December 30, 2011.
2012

Intermediate Implementation

In Arpil 2012, the DDR process started. The government intended to assemble an estimated 40,000 combatants who participated in the post-election crisis in 18 different sites across the country. The government predicted the recruitment of 2,000 into FRCI, 15,000 into the reserve force, and 23,000 into the DDR process.11 An estimated 40,000 FRCI combatants were expected to participate out of an estimated caseload of 60,000 to 100,000.12

With UNOCI support, a national policy concerning DDR was adopted on August 2 and provided for a single entity to oversee the process: the Authority for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (ADDR). "The Authority for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration developed a pilot programme for an initial caseload of 5,000 former combatants to be processed at the Anyama demobilization site in Abidjan. The operation targeted mainly elements associated with FRCI who had fought on the of President Ouattara during the post-elections crisis. . . . As of 18 December, 1,194 former combatants, including 63 women, have been disarmed and demobilized . . .”13

  • 11. “Special report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2012/186), March 29, 2012.
  • 12. “Thirtieth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2012/506), June 29 2012.
  • 13. "Thirty-first progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2012/964), December 31, 2012, paragraphs 34-36.
2013

Intermediate Implementation

The DDR process gained momentum. In June, 5,973 former combatants, including 460 women, had been disarmed and demobilized, while 3,489 weapons, 28,355 rounds of ammunition and 2,448 items of explosive ammunition had been collected, registered and/or destroyed, with United Nations support.14 These numbers rose by December: 15,456 former combatants, including 1,002 women, had been disarmed and demobilized, while 5,838 weapons, 258,002 rounds of small arms ammunition and 6,800 items of explosive ordnance had been collected, registered and/or destroyed, with United Nations support.15

“The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants remained a key priority of President Ouattara, who has requested his Government to expedite the disarmament and demobilization of 30,000 combatants by the end of 2013 and to complete the process by 2015. The Authority for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration subsequently proposed a two-year programme aimed at processing a caseload of approximately 65,000 [down from 110,000 after further verification efforts] former combatants, costing some $145 million according to Government estimates.”16

Despite increased success, problems and challenges remained. The initial target of 30,000 would not be met, so the Government extended the duration of the process to June 30, 2015, with a revised target for 2013 of 23,000 combatants. Meanwhile, the caseload of eligible former combatants increased from 66,777 to 74,068.17

Moreover, the UN condemned an attack on a convoy of the national Authority for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (ADDR) by demobilized former combatants; the attack took place on July 1 on a road between the towns of Ferkessedougou in the north and Kong in the northwest.18 The same day, there were further reports of an uprising of demobilized former combatants in the northern town of Tengrela  that invovled the exchange of fire with elements of the police force along with the Republican Forces of Cote d'Ivoire [FRCI]. "According to the banco.net website, which disclosed the information yesterday, these demobilized former combatants were demanding, through this violent demonstration, their integration within the national army."19

Furthermore, there were reports of disgruntled suppliers working with the ADDR as well as discontented staff members who had not received pay.20

Ongoing concern with the DDR process, along with security sector reform and the continued circulation of weapons, helped prompt the UN Security Council to extend the mandate of UNOCI to June 30, 2014.21

  • 14. "Thirty-second progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2013/377), June 26, 2013, paragraph 35.
  • 15. "Thirty-third progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2013/761), December 24, 2013, paragraph 36.
  • 16. "Thirty-second progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2013/377), June 26, 2013, paragraphs 36, 41.
  • 17. "Thirty-third progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2013/761), December 24, 2013, paragraph 35.
  • 18. “Cote d'Ivoire: UN condemns attack on disarmament convoy,” IBNS, July 3, 2013.
  • 19. “Ivorian ex-combatants attack regular army before presidential visit to north,” BBC Worldwide Monitoring, July 2, 2013.
  • 20. "Ivorian government to integrate more than 10,000 former combatants," BBC Worldwide Monitoring, September 10, 2013.
  • 21. UN Security Council Resolution 2112, July 30, 2013 (S/RES/2112).
2014

Intermediate Implementation

DDR efforts continued into 2014. “With support from UNOCI, the national Authority for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration finalized its programmatic framework, which was presented to international partners in February. It also developed partnerships with national financial, training and employment institutions, as well as international donors.”22

“On 4 November, the Authority for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration announced that some 44,000 former combatants, including 3,538 women, had been disarmed and that a revised total of 67,460 former combatants were expected to undergo the process by 30 June 2015.”23

Like in 2013, however, challenges persisted. “Since early 2014, enrollment of former combatants into the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process decreased significantly, including as a result of limited reinsertion and reintegration opportunities.”24

Moreover, "inclusion and transparency remained a challenge.” In May, “the rate of inclusion of combatants who had been affiliated with former President Gbagbo remained low, at 13 per cent, while a significant number of persons who had not been registered in the national disarmament, demobilization and reintegration database were included retroactively.25

UN Resolution 2162 expressed concern "at the low ratio of former combatants associated with the previous government that has been processed through the DDR programme and the 43,000 former combatants that remain armed and unemployed . . ."26

In October, violence was renewed in Bangui and involved a continuous cycle of provocations and reprisals by armed groups, both inside and outside of Bangui.27

  • 22. "Thirty-fourth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2014/342), May 15, 2014, paragraph 31.
  • 23. "Thirty-fifth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2014/892), December 12, 2014, paragraph 31.
  • 24. Ibid., paragraph 32.
  • 25. "Thirty-fourth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2014/342), May 15, 2014, paragraph 32.
  • 26. UN Security Council Resolution 2162, June 25, 2014 (S/RES/2162).
  • 27. UN Security Resolution 2196, 2015 (S/RES/2196).
2015

Intermediate Implementation

UN Security Council Resolution 2169 noted, in light of recurring violence, "the need for an inclusive and effective disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process (DDR) as well as repatriation and resettlement (DDRRR) in the case of foreign fighters, including children formerly associated with armed forces and groups, while respecting the need to fight impunity".28

In January, Achatou Mindaoudou, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNOCI, noted that process of DDR was advancing satisfactorily. “However, she said that after June 2015, the target date set by the Ivorian authorities to complete the initiative, there would still be a surplus of about 14,000 ex-combatants to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.29

The ongoing process of DDR will likely be affected by the 2015 election cycle.

  • 28. Ibid.
  • 29. "Cote d'Ivoire: Welcoming recent progress, UN envoy urges vigilance in run-up to elections," IBNS, January 14, 2015.