No Christmas for Kuria girls as cross-border FGM takes toll

Anti-FGM board CEO Bernadette Loloju at her office. She says 81 girls have been rescued from FGM in Migori County, and currently in a safe space.

Photo credit: Steve Otieno | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • There has been an uproar on social media following fresh Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in cases in Migori County.
  • Police report filed at Isebania Police Station seen by nation.africa, ashow police on Sunday and Monday arrested six people who were taking part in the circumcision exercise.

Girls in Kuria, Migori County have nothing to celebrate this festive season following fresh Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) cases in the area.

There has been an uproar on social media, with gender activists raising the red flag on the ongoing vice following the closure of schools.

According to a police report filed at Isebania Police Station seen by nation.africa, police on Sunday and Monday arrested six people who were taking part in the circumcision exercise. Seven minors who had already been subjected to the cut were also rescued.

“They will be charged for subjecting the minors to FGM and failing to report the outlawed cultural practise,” the police report says in part.

Anti-FGM Board CEO Bernadette Loloju confirmed receiving reports of ongoing FGM activities in Kuria. She revealed that 81 girls have been rescued and currently in a safe space.

Cultural practise

She blamed the cross-border FGM on the surge in Kuria West and East.

“We have since found out that the girls were sneaked to Tanzania for the cut and later brought back to their homes in Kenya. The circumciser is from Tanzania,” said Loloju.

She faulted Kuria elders for doing little to ensure girls are not cut during this festive season, despite denouncing the outlawed cultural practise recently.

“The Anti-FGM Board in collaboration with Unicef and Migori County government facilitated the Kuria elders with Sh2 million to enable them go to the shrines for eight days and urge their people not to cut girls. It is sad the vice is still ongoing despite the massive investment,” she said.

She called on politicians and professionals to speak to the elders and parents.

Vincent Mwita, a local anti-FGM activist told nation.africa that the situation is dire.

“This new trend where girls are dressed like boys is making it hard to stop the cut before it happens. So far, more than 300 girls have been cut,” said Mr Mwita.

He blamed the authorities’ laxity on the matter for the skyrocketing number of girls being subjected to the cut.

“We need more surveillance and response from government agencies,” he said.

The fresh surge in FGM cases in Kuria comes barely a month after the launch of a regional action plan to eliminate cross-border FGM among five East African countries.

Data gathering

Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Somalia aim to use the action plan to eradicate the cross-border FGM.

The plan provides a framework, at the regional level, to assist governments in the implementation of existing international, regional and national commitments on ending FGM.

It will focus on four key pillars, which include legislation and policy; coordination and collaboration; communication and advocacy; and evidence, research and data gathering.

The elaborate project has roped in the Maasai community at the Kenya-Tanzania border, Kuria, Taveta and the Borana communities in Moyale at the Kenya-Ethiopia border.

It has also brought in the Pokot community in the Karamoja region at the Kenya-Uganda border and the Somali community at the border between north-eastern Kenya and Somalia.

According to Unicef, the five target countries alone account for approximately 25 per cent (48.5 million) of the girls and women who have undergone FGM globally.


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