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Traditional and Religious Approaches as Psychosocial Support in the Reintegration of Former Girl Soldiers in South Sudan

In: African and Asian Studies
Authors:
Lujang John Jangaling PhD Candidate, Department of International and Strategic Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2598-4654
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Jatswan S. Sidhu Associate Professor, Department of International and Strategic Studies, University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7554-0413
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Abstract

The major cause of the conflict in South Sudan was power struggles among the political elites who manipulated ethnic differences along tribal lines. In the case of defunct Gbudue State both Sudan People Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLAIO) and South Sudan National Liberation Movement (SSNLM) massively recruited girl soldiers into their ranks. After the conflict, the girl soldiers returned home with deep psychosocial effects. The conflict has brought to fore existence of rich knowledge of traditional and religious approaches in reintegration process. This article attempts to examine the significance of traditional approaches used as psychosocial support during reintegration of former girl soldiers and analyse the extent of religion as dominant approach during the reintegration of former girl child soldiers in South Sudan. The article was guided by Instrumentalist theory: Elite Perspective. The study revealed both traditional approaches and religion in form of prayers helped psychologically to reintegrate former girl soldiers into the communities. The study also revealed that reintegration is a process that aims to reintegrate former girl soldiers within their families, economically and socially. From a methodological point of view, this article is a phenomenologically designed with findings include discussions about themes and patterns discovered during data analysis.

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