Releasing Child Soldiers in South Sudan
On Tuesday, August 7, 128 children and adolescents formerly associated with armed forces and armed groups will be released in a ceremony in Gbudue State, South Sudan. CMMB and its partners, including UNICEF, will be participating at event, along with several South Sudanese government officials. Among those present will be General Chaplain Khamis Edward (Ministry of Defense), Christopher Muchiri Murenga (UNMISS Yambio HoFO), Mahimbo Mdoe (UNICEF Country Representative), Hon. Obwaha Claude Akasha (Deputy Chairperson), and Hon. Grace Datiro (Deputy Governor Gbudue State).
Our team on the ground will support the children by helping find and reunify them with their families. We will also provide psychosocial care and referrals.
After the ceremony, the children will move into a transit center, where they will receive medical screening and continued psychosocial support. They will remain at the center for three months, and then, where possible, will be reunited with their families and begin to be reintegrated into their communities. Here, CMMB will take over psychosocial support as part of our child protection activities, including play therapy. Our child protection team previously worked with former child soldiers released in February and April.
This ceremony comes after the release of hundreds of child soldiers on two previous occasions – this past February and April. Since the civil war began nearly five years ago, it is estimated that over 19,000 children have been recruited as child soldiers and robbed of their childhoods.
As a key partner for child protection around Yambio, CMMB has played an active role in the overall reintegration process of former child soldiers, including disarmament, demobilization, and reunification of families. The reintegration process is slow and challenging. The horrors that so many of these children have faced require specialized support, patience, and time.