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Review Article

Returning home: the reintegration dilemmas of female Al-Shabaab defectors in Kenya

orcid-imageFathima Azmiya BadurdeenFathima Azmiya Badurdeen

Dr Fathima Azmiya Badurdeen is a Lecturer at the Department of Social Sciences at the Technical University of Mombasa, Kenya. Presently, she also holds a Postdoctoral Researcher position at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at Groningen University, Netherlands. Her research interests focus on religion and peacebuilding; countering violent extremism; and the sociological analysis of recruitment for violent extremist organisations and human trafficking networks. She has been an academic/practitioner working on countering violent extremism in the East and Horn of Africa since 2012 and has also worked in the field of conflict transformation, peacebuilding and post-conflict development in Sri Lanka.

Abstract

Gendered responses to the disengagement and reintegration of female defectors are needed to respond to trends that indicate increasing female radicalisation and growth in the recruitment of women into terrorist networks. The development of successful gender-sensitive amnesty policies and reintegration programmes is crucial, not only to prevent recidivism and re-engagement among female defectors, but also to mitigate the risk of further female radicalisation and recruitment at community level. This article, based on research conducted with female Al-Shabaab defectors in Kenya, explores women’s gendered motives for joining the Al-Shabaab network, their experiences within it and their reasons for quitting in order to inform an evidence-based reintegration process. It identifies the gendered nuances involved in recruitment, disengagement and deradicalisation, and it also considers gender-specific aspects of reintegration, highlighting the need to focus on gendered needs, norms and the expectations of female Al-Shabaab defectors and the communities in which they are reintegrated.

Keywords

reintegrationdefectorsAl-Shabaabdisengagementamnesty policygender
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Published on: 22 June 2023
Volume: 11
Issue: Supplementary issue 1
Article ID: 037
Pages:37 - 62
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© The author(s) 2023.
Cite this article
Badurdeen (2023), ' Returning home: the reintegration dilemmas of female Al-Shabaab defectors in Kenya ', Journal of the British Academy, 11(Supplementary issue 1): 037 https://doi.org/10.5871/jba/011s1.037

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Thematic article

Normal View Dyslexic View

Returning home: the reintegration dilemmas of female Al-Shabaab defectors in Kenya

orcid-imageFathima Azmiya BadurdeenFathima Azmiya Badurdeen

Dr Fathima Azmiya Badurdeen is a Lecturer at the Department of Social Sciences at the Technical University of Mombasa, Kenya. Presently, she also holds a Postdoctoral Researcher position at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at Groningen University, Netherlands. Her research interests focus on religion and peacebuilding; countering violent extremism; and the sociological analysis of recruitment for violent extremist organisations and human trafficking networks. She has been an academic/practitioner working on countering violent extremism in the East and Horn of Africa since 2012 and has also worked in the field of conflict transformation, peacebuilding and post-conflict development in Sri Lanka.