West Pokot: Anti-FGM crusaders decry increase of cases as residents force their way into practice

By , K24 Digital
On Mon, 16 Aug, 2021 17:47 | 2 mins read
Ant-FGM activist.

There is an upsurge of female genital mutilation cases in West Pokot with the advent of Covid 19 worsening the situation.

According to stakeholders fighting the vice, over 500 girls have been circumcised since March 14, 2020.

Mosop location in Pokot central is the centre of the vice given that all girls come from the area.

Teresa Chepto, a child protection officer working with World Vision says the remoteness of some of the areas has been a challenge to those who are tasked with ending the vice.

“We are saddened by the increase as more and more girls are being circumcised with the local authorities doing nothing about it,” she said.

The anti-FGM crusaders have dismissed claims by the council of elders that the deadly mudslides, where 52 people died and over 22,000 households displaced in Parua, Nyarkulian, Sebit, Muino, Tamkal, and Batei, was as a result of the gods’ wrath on the community for stopping to follow their traditions which included circumcising their girls.

“This has really made the milestones we had achieved to be ruined in one day as all the locals resorted to circumcising their girls to avert the wrath of the gods,” Cheptoo regretted.

Local administrators who tried to block the practice were not spared as locals forced their way in ensuring FGM resumes.

“The house of Mosop sub-location Assistant chief was burned down by irate locals who chased him from their village forcing him and his family to seek refuge at Makutano centre. His neighbouring colleague was forced to circumcise his two daughters leading to his arrest and interdiction,” Cheptoo said.

Under the elders' instruction, all bodies of women buried within the period after the mudslide were retrieved to undergo the rite before being interred again.

“Can you believe they had to dig up bodies of women buried without passing through the rite around Ortum area to undergo the cut in order to appease the gods not to bring such a calamity on the community again?”  Cheptoo posed.

Teresa Lokichu an anti-FGM activist from Cheparera says that perpetrators from Sigor and Sook areas have resorted to sending the girls to collect firewood where they are forced to undergo the cut.

“They are sent to forests to collect firewood where their brothers grab them and are circumcised by old ladies hiding in the forest before being sent to their homes to recuperate,” Lokichu said.

Lokichu has decried lack of support from both national and county governments in tackling the vice which seems to be rising rapidly.