August 20, 2014
Over 200 men seek protection against forced circumcisionThe annual circumcision season for the Bukusu ethnic community in western Kenya usually brings a festive atmosphere.
This year, however, at least a dozen adult males from three neighboring tribes that don’t practice the rite have been allegedly put to the knife by force since the start of the season in early August.
This has led to more than 200 of their fellow-tribesmen from the Turkana, Teso and Luo communities seeking refuge at a police station in an effort to avoid the same fate.
The police have agreed to provide them with security so they can go back to their homes unscathed.
Circumcision remains a highly polarizing issue among many ethnic groups in Kenya and Africa in general.
Despite this, it is not uncommon to find areas where practicing and non-practicing tribes share land and happily co-habit regardless of their differences in opinion over such customs and traditions.
As per Kenya’s Bukusu tribal custom, all men should be circumcised because it signifies the passage from childhood to adulthood.
However, David Ekai, one of those who were forcibly circumcised, says that the practice goes against his own ancestral tradition and that people should not be forced to undergo it.
The Bukusu are a sub-tribe of the Luhya community, the second-largest ethnic group in Kenya.
When a member of a nearby non-circumcising ethnic community marries a Bukusu woman, he may be “convinced” to be circumcised at the request of his Bukusu wife and in-laws.