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Women Held Over FGM Activities

Police in Narok are holding two women who were arrested at Olorropil area Narok North Sub County yesterday for subjecting two teenage girls to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Confirming the incident, Narok North Sub County Police Commander Mr.  Fred Erick Siundu said that they received a tip-off from members of the public about the incident that was going on yesterday in a home in the area and moved to scene where they found two girls aged 14 and 15 having been cut and bleeding.

He said that the two girls were swiftly rescued and taken to Narok Referral Hospital for treatment where it was confirmed that they had undergone the cut. They have been booked in safe custody until their case ends.

The two women suspects who according to Siundu were mother and the circumciser were to be arraigned in court today but the prosecution wants the police to tie up loose ends in the case so that the suspects will be charged tomorrow (Friday).

“Although the suspects were expected to be arraigned in court today, the case still has many loose ends and we want the P3 forms properly filled before we can present the suspects to court. We want to present a watertight case in court and secure conviction,” said Mr. Zachary Omwenga, the Narok County Principal State Counsel.

Some other sources had intimated to us that some two other suspects had been released from custody in an unclear circumstances, an allegation that Siundu did not confirm or deny.

In Narok where FGM and early marriages are rampant due to social-cultural beliefs, these kind of cases are normally met by many obstacles and it even becomes difficult to secure a conviction due to lack of cooperation from the family while some witnesses are compromised or threatened.

A State Counsel recently told an FGM conference in Narok that that the Maasai and other communities have devised a secretive way of performing the act in order to beat the law by doing it secretly at night.

It is worth noting that less than 20 cases of FGM nature have been filed before Narok County Law Courts since 2014 due to this secretive and uncooperative nature of the Maasai community on the matter.

The ongoing pandemic where the girls have been at home for long has created the perfect conditions for proponents of FGM and early marriage to carry out their perverted motives.  The vice is rampant in Narok among the Maasai and Kipsigis communities who consider it an important aspect of their culture. In this period of Coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of young girls have undergone the cut in the county and the country at large and married off.

But President Uhuru Kenyatta has committed himself to end FGM in Kenya by 2023.

Although the practice of FGM was outlawed in Kenya in 2001 under laws that prohibit customs harmful to children and Under the FGM Act, 2011, it is still rampant among the Kenyan communities with the Somali community leading in propagating this medically harmful practice by 94 per cent. They are closely followed by Samburu who practice FGM at a rate of 86 per cent.

The Abagusi and Maasai communities are said to be third and fourth respectively in FGM with a prevalence of 84 and 78 per cent respectively. Over 37 of the 42, now 44 tribal communities in Kenya still practice Female Genital Mutilation.

The preferential age for the procedure used to be 15 but now it’s done to those as young as eight year-olds where they are then married off. Despite a ban on it in 2011, more than 500 girls in Narok County drop out of school every year because of Female Genital Mutilation and early marriage.

 

By Mabel Keya-Shikuku/ Milka Mwangi

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