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KENYA: Girl Bleeds To Death After Undergoing FGM

A woman was yesterday arrested after her seven-year-old daughter bled to death after female circumcision.

It is female circumcision season in Wajir District, despite concerted efforts to discourage the practice.

"She was brought to the hospital more than 24 hours after circumcision. By then it was too late to save her life," said Mrs Ardo Mohammed, a nurse.

She said the girl underwent infibulation, the worst form of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) common in North Eastern Province.

Police intercepted family members planning to bury the girl. An elderly circumciser was also arrested after a brief search.

Deputy OCPD Job Lesinayu said they would be charged with murder.

But relatives want the two released, arguing the death was pre-ordained.

Ritual’s defence

"No parent would want to see her child die. At least the police should allow her to mourn her daughter," a former councillor, Mr Kunow Ibrahim, said.

It has also emerged that the child was among three girls cut by the circumciser.

And the tragedy has not dampened the cultural mood with scores of other girls facing the knife.

Elsewhere, an estimated 85 per cent of the more than 100 girls who underwent the rite in December, last year in Kuria District have dropped out of school and forced into marriages.

Local anti-FGM campaigners, led by Maendeleo Ya Wanawake branch chairperson Beatrice Robi, yesterday criticised parents for allowing their daughters to be married early.

Outdated practice

Speaking during the burial of Nathan Tolo, father of The Standard Senior Online Editor, Dan Okoth in Rongo, Ms Robi attributed early marriages to poverty and outdated cultural practices.

Tolo, a pioneer teacher and church leader, died early this month, after an illness and was buried at his Kodero Bara home.

Robi said the drop-out rate was alarming and would affect the education of girls in the region.

"We have carried out a survey and found that 85 per cent of the girls have been married off. This is wrong," she said.

She also told The Standard they had compiled a list of the affected girls, and would hold a workshop to sensitise parents against the rite.

SOURCE: The Standard

AUTHOR: Boniface Ongeri and Kepher Otieno

URL: Click here

DATE: 20/04/2009

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