A woman was yesterday arrested after her seven-year-old daughter bled to death after female circumcision. It is female circumcision season in Wajir District, despite concerted efforts to discourage the practice.
"She was brought to the hospital more than 24 hours after circumcision. By then it was too late to save her life," said Mrs Ardo Mohammed, a nurse.
She said the girl underwent infibulation, the worst form of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is common in North Eastern Province of Kenya where Kenyans of Somali Ethnic Community form 99%. Police intercepted family members planning to bury the girl. An elderly circumciser was also arrested after a brief search.
Deputy OCPD(Police) Mr. Job Lesinayu said they would be charged with murder. But relatives want the two released, arguing the death was pre-ordained. "No parent would want to see her child die. At least the police should allow her to mourn her daughter," a former councillor, Mr Kunow Ibrahim, said. It has also emerged that the child was among three girls cut by the circumciser.
The tragedy has not dampened the cultural mood with scores of other girls facing the knife.
The Somali ethnic group in Kenya has the highest prevalence of FGM - 97 per cent of Somali women have undergone the procedure, and almost all are infibulations. As in many other communities, pre-marital virginity is very important for the Somali, and FGM is considered essential in preserving virginity and family honour. Many Somali also believe that FGM is an Islamic requirement, although some Sheikhs, community elders and Muslim women's groups have clarified that infibulation is in violation of the Koran. This has led to a shift from infibulation to a less-severe form of FGM, and it is a complex issue for groups working to eradicate the practice to encourage its abandonment instead of the adoption a less-severe form.
Our NGO, Northern Kenya Caucus(NORKENYA) has been active in girl child programs and is raising awareness on Gender Based Violence, HIV (Aids) and Eradication of FGM in these communities.