Control over "Sons of Iraq" groups in Salah ad-Din province has been turned over from the U.S. military to the Iraqi government, officials say.
The move, made April 2, completes the transfer of the groups in areas overseen by Multi-National Division-North, officials say.
Iraqi national and provincial government leaders, sheiks and members of the 4th Iraqi Army and 25th U.S. Infantry Division marked the transfer in Salah ad-Din with a signing ceremony in a palace on the banks of the Tigris.
The more than 20,000 men in Salah-ad-Din who are registered with the "Sons of Iraq" are scheduled to receive their first paycheck from the Iraqi government in May, according to a news release issued by Multi-National Corps-Iraq.
Nationwide, the ultimate goal is to phase out the armed civilian groups, which are credited with helping to calm Iraq.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki mandated that 20 percent of the members will join Iraqi security forces; more than 3,000 have joined Iraqi police. Another 80 percent is expected to be offered jobs in the government’s various ministries.
"The Iraqi government is committed to helping the Sahwa ["Sons of Iraq"] find employment," said Muzhir al-Mawla, spokesman for the Implementation and Follow up Committee for National Reconciliation.