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State steps up war on FGM in Migori

The war on female genital mutilation (FGM) in Migori County has intensified with the focus being in Kuria West, Kuria East and Suna West constituencies where the practice is rampant.

County Commissioner Joseph Rotich said yesterday that the government was keen to protect young girls whose lives were being put at risk because of the out-lawed tradition.

This comes on the backdrop of reports that a number of young girls from the Kuria community were sneaked out of the country to undergo the rite in neighbouring Tanzania.

More than 200 young girls are suspected to have been secretly bused out across the border into Tanzania early December to undergo the operation to avoid arrests by hawk-eyed security agencies in Kenya.

The Kuria community subjects their female teens to the annual rite of passage in the month of December as a way to usher them into adulthood.

Shockingly, girls aged as young as 12 years are either forcibly taken through this rite of passage or willingly endures the circumciser’s knife in order to gain respect and identity within the community as mature persons ready for marriage.

However briefing KNA on measures so far taken to fight the vice yesterday, Mr. Rotich said that security agencies in collaboration with the national government administrators were out to pursue all parents and guardians who may have colluded with their Tanzanian relatives to smuggle their daughters across the border to undergo the rite.

“We are investigating and will arrest and charge in court all those who will be found culpable of sneaking their daughters or girls under their care to undergo the rite across the border,” he warned.

Rotich said the tradition remained outlawed in the country since it was retrogressive and a grave health risk to the Kuria woman.

He said while the tradition was rampant in Kuria, there were some parents in Suna West sub county who also embraced the rite, exposing their under-age daughters to numerous health risks in their lives.

“It is therefore the responsibility of the government and all Kenyans to ensure that the lives of girls and women are not ruined by outdated cultural practices that have no place in this century,” Rotich stressed.

By George Agimba

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