FGM: Cross border circumcisers blamed for escalating vice

By Abdi Hussein

Loitokitok administration officials in Kajiado South sub-county are on high alert to curb escalating cross border cases of female genital mutilation.

The new trend in the border town entails traditional circumcisers crossing over into the sub-county to carry out the illegal exercise on Kenyan soil or girls crossing over to Tanzania for the exercise.

Reports from some residents indicated that 20 Kenyan girls from Loitokitok underwent the cut last December to the chagrin of anti FGM crusaders.

In one incident, parents are said to have colluded with a foreign circumciser who disguised herself as a visiting relative to one of the families and managed to conduct the exercise after evading the administration dragnet.

Anti-FGM crusader, Ms Dorcas Parit, told County Press, the trend is deep rooted owing to the fact that Maasai enkisongo sub section are found in both countries.

The exercise is being done secretly at night even to much younger girls, she said.

”We have on record 20 girls who underwent the cut during the last December holiday at the hands of a Tanzanian circumciser. We also have a handful of girls who crossed the border to undergo the cut in disguise. They had pretended to be visiting relatives. It’s a sad situation,” lamented Parit.

An 11-year-old girl revealed how she was forcibly sent to her maternal aunt’s home in Tanzania only to be forced to undergo the cut at night on the day she arrived.

“I thought it was a normal visit only for my aunt to introduce me to an aging woman who then forcibly circumcised me at night. I felt demeaned by the act to extent of falling into depression,” narrated the minor, who is currently in a safe house in Kajiado South.

Area local administration official is astonished by the new trend of cross border FGM activities.

Loitokitok town Chief Isaiah Semala described the situatiation as dire, adding that administration is forced collect data of homesteads with girls and monitor them closely so as avert the vice.

“We are on high alert to ensure no more girls are subjected to the barbaric act. However, we may have no control over families crossing over to Tanzania to ‘visit’ their relatives. It is a daunting task” he added.

However, dozens of girls have been rescued by anti FGM Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in collaboration with Nyumba Kumi elders in different parts of Kajiado county recently.

These girls who are currently staying in safe houses to avoid  being subjected to forced marriages by their parents and at least will have a chance to continue with their education.

Retrogressive culture including FGM, early marriage have identified as  the biggest setback to Maasai girl-child’s formal education, despite the Kenyan government frantic effort to curb the vice

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