A video that has surfaced shows a group of machete-wielding men parading young girls while on their way for the procedure in Migory County.
Trigger Warning: The story has disturbing details of Female Genital Mutilation
Numerous girls in Kenya have been subjected to forced female genital mutilation (FGM) since last month as part of a seasonal custom, according to a Daily Mail report. Video footage from Kuria West in Migori County showed hundreds of men, with weapons such as machetes, parading young girls down the road for the ritual in a very public display. Music was being played in the background. According to a local NGO, at least 100 girls have undergone the painful and illegal procedure with the government doing little to stop it. The cutting started in the last week of September and is that it is still going on unabated.
Thousands of girls are subjected to FGM and paraded down the street after mass cutting ceremonies in Kenya https://t.co/mHX4lYVOou— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) October 20, 2020
While the government has tried to crack down on people who promote the practice it does not have seemed to have worked. "The cuts began the last week of September. We thought it would have finished by Saturday so that has not been the case. Things have been really bad and we hope that this week will be the final week. The cut has been very public in that we see girls walking the road being paraded," said Natalie Robi Tingo, Founder of Msichana Empowerment Kuria, an NGO that works to end FGM. She said it was not known long the forced FGM would go on for. According to a report in Daily Nation, at least 80 girls from the region were reported fleeing their homes over fears of being forced to undergo FGM. Many of them sought refuge at the Taranganya Girls' Secondary as the season of the custom set in.
Kuria girls hide in schools to escape FGM https://t.co/yIiZfyuPlA— Nation Africa (@NationAfrica) October 14, 2020
The report said thatmost of these girls forced to undergo the 'procedure' are between 9 and 13 years old. They are presently under the protection of the GESOSE, a non-profit organization. "We are coordinating with the Children's department to have the girls send back to their homes. But we want to ensure there is an agreement in place with the parents and our teams to monitor and ensure the girls are safely back in school to continue with learning," said Suzanne Matinde, programs coordinator at GESOSE. The report quoted one girl who ran away from her home and was relocated to the rescue camp. The 14-year-old, whose name was not revealed, said that her parents had told her to undergo FGM. "My aunt told me of the plans and helped me escape to Kehancha police station after she learned that I was to undergo circumcision," the girl said.
There’s been a spike in the outlawed practice of #FGM in Kuria. Innocent girls subjected to physical pain, mental torture & health issues. Community stakeholders must join hands to #StopKuriaMassFGM @AFGMBoard @GPtoEndFGM @UNICEFKenya @SadearH @HaitharAhmed @mkwamboka4 @MenEndFGM pic.twitter.com/cD9fye22nS— ADRA Kenya (@ADRAKenya) October 13, 2020
She added that she was worried about being disowned by her family and not being able to continue her education. "I am worried that my parents no longer want to associate with me if I do not take accept to take the cut. I am preparing to sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam but if I go home, I will be subjected to circumcision," she said. Similarly, of the 80 girls who ran away and who are at the GESOSE rescue center, 20 are grade 8 pupils and 6 are in grade 4. John Omondi, the Kuria West Children's officer, said, "The main challenge now is incorporating the children back to the society, especially during this FGM period. Unless there is an intervention to pacify the children with their parents, they may end up undergoing the cut."
According to a report in PD Online, Boaz Cherutich, the Migori County Commissioner, has hauled 10 chiefs and their assistants in Kuria sub-county for failing to report FGM cases in their areas of administration. In fact, some of them were even privy to the practice. He further said that he would not shy away from taking stricter actions against the chiefs. According to a report in Relief Web, as many as 4 million girls and women in the country have been subjected to FGM. It is also practiced widely in other African and middle-eastern countries.