MOGADISHU, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Somalia has opened a rehabilitation center for former Al-Shabaab combatants in the southern port city of Kismayo.
The United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) said in a statement on Thursday that the center which is the fourth to be established in the Horn of Africa nation is part of Somalia's National Programme for the Treatment and Handling of Disengaged Combatants.
Director of the UNSOM Rule of Law and Security Institutions Group, Staffan Tillander said the establishment of the center will go a long way towards countering violent extremism by spurring development in the region.
"Without peace, there won't be any development, and this center will help in preventing violent extremism. It will support a much broader programme, supported by Germany, Japan and others," Tillander said.
UNSOM and development partners have supported the establishment of similar transition centers in Baidoa, Belet Weyne and Mogadishu.
Besides providing vocational training, the centers also offer psychological counseling to ex-combatants to facilitate their reintegration into local communities.
The construction of the center was funded by the German government with support from the UNSOM, Somalia government and development partners.
Deputy German Ambassador to Somalia, Markus Bollmohr said the opening of the center was part of a comprehensive approach to security focusing not only on hard security measures such as a strong police and military force but also on the reconciliatory and rehabilitation aspects of security.