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Kenya: 20 girls forcefully circumcised in FGM saga

More than three million girls undergo female genital mutilation (female circumcision) yearly all over the world. In Kenya, despite laws prohibiting the act, it remains a painful reality. Just last Friday, 20 girls were forcefully circumcised in two villages in Marakwet East sub-county

In an exercise which started from 5:30am to 7pm, the 20 girls who were aged between six and 14 were cut in Tinyar and Kapkobutwo villages in Chugor, Kibaimwa location of Marakwet East. The girls are pupils of the Chugor Girls boarding and Chesetan primary schools in Elgeyo Marakwet county.

Female circumcision is not known to have any health benefit, but could have immediate and long term harmful effects on the victims. Some of the side-effects include severe bleeding, infection and shock in the short term. Recurrent urinary tract infections, keloids, difficulty during menstruation, pain during sex, inability to get pregnant, and complications during sex are long term effects. There is also the risk of contracting HIV as a result of using unsterilised instruments in carrying out the circumcisions.

A woman holds a razor blade after circumcising a girl in Kenya                  Photo: theguardian.com
A woman holds a razor blade after circumcising a girl in Kenya Photo: Reuters/Siegfried Modola

The practitioners of the act however are willing to risk it all for the sake of preserving their traditions. According to reports by The Star, some villagers who spoke to the media on condition of anonymity for fear of being arrested said although they knew that laws passed since 2011 have made the practice illegal, they would not abandon the most valued practice in their society.

In a recent piece on The Huffington Post, Siddharth Chatterjee, a UNFPA Kenya representative quoted a practitioner who said that, “Cutting girls is something our people have done for hundreds of years. No one can convince us that it is wrong.”

Villagers interviewed following the circumcision of the girls in Marakwet East said that Kenya has more pressing issues to tackle than interfering with the traditions of their people.

The Deputy County Commissioner Hussein Alaso Hussein has summoned the chief and Police station commander [OCS], in areas where the female genital mutilation (FGM) allegedly occurred.

“We will investigate who among them failed in their responsibility to prevent it and we have summoned the Kibaimwa location chief and Mogil police station OCS, and as we speak we are in a crisis meeting and they only have up to this evening to produce suspects or face disciplinary action,” he said

Also, local MP Kangogo Bowen and County Women Representative Dr. Susan Chebet condemned FGM and asked police to ensure the culprits were brought to book.

Source: The Star.

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