Tuesday, April 24, 2012

KENYA: Married women forcibly circumcised

The Standard (Kenya)
April 24, 2012

Panic as gang circumcises married women

By Patrick Muthuri
Anxiety has gripped Athanja Sub-Location in Tigania East District after a group of women allegedly kidnapped and forcefully circumcised married women who are opposed to female circumcision.

One woman was rescued from a group of circumcisers while another is still missing after she was reportedly hidden after the alleged mutilation in Kaithe village.

Following the incident, seven suspects alleged to be members of a group that has been abducting woman and forcefully circumcising them were arrested.

"The victim who escaped was lured into a house in the name of a meeting by the women. When she entered the house, she was ordered to undress but she screamed and neighbours came to her rescue.

The gang has already abducted and circumcised one woman who is still missing," said Ms Evangeline Kangai, a women’s rights activist.

Area OCPD Charles Koskei said the suspects will be arraigned in court for propagating harmful cultural practices and urged the community to intensify campaigns against the vice.

"The Constitution protects women against harmful cultural practices. We will not allow anyone to violate the basic rights of women," the OCPD said. Kangai said the group made up of young and old women has been targeting married women.

She said the group threatens uncircumcised women with isolation if they do not undergo the cut. "The group seems to have turned to married women because we have sensitised school girls against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)."

Assaulted four women
"We urge the Government to take stern action against the perpetrators since they are trying to revive the vice," she said. She added the group has been training young women how to carry out FGM. "Among those arrested was a 23-year-old woman, the circumciser and a trainer. I urge all stakeholders to come in and ensure this is brought to an end," said Kangai. Susan Munya said the group has assaulted about four women and called for crackdown on other suspects.

Ann Kaburo, a health worker said the gang’s activities have broken up some families since they have been mutilating women without the knowledge of their husbands, who kick them out when they discover.

Muthara Chief Nkunya Etirikia said the practice had dropped significantly and said he would fight those who attempt to revive it.

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