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Tragic end for teenager in ‘mad season’ of female circumcision

By PHILEMON SUTER

A teenager has died and two others admitted to hospital in Kerio Valley, as girls’ circumcision fever gripped the region. An Administration Policeman and chief were roughed up by the villagers who also snatched the officer’s gun as the duo attempted to storm a hideout and stop traditionalists from subjecting the girls to the prohibited Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Baffled government officials put the number of girls cut by Monday at 1,200 – the highest in the region in a decade.

Deputy County Commissioner Hussein Alaso Hussein confirmed the death of the Standard Seven pupil at Chebilil Primary School. She died while being rushed to hospital after being circumcised in Kowou village.

At the same time, two other girls were on Monday morning admitted to St. Benedictine Sister’s Chesong’och Mission Hospital in Marakwet East with complications arising from excessive bleeding.

“They were brought here unconscious but they are now in stable condition. These are young girls aged 11 and 12 and in lower primary school,” said Sister Benadete Nzuve, the Chief Administrative Nurse at the health facility.

SERIOUSLY INJURED

The parents of the hospitalised girls brought them to the health facility but abandoned them at the entrance for fear of arrest.

Kipchumwa location chief Benjamin Cherobei with his administration police officer were roughed up and seriously injured. The villagers snatched the officer’s gun during the confrontation with the circumcisers.

The chief was injured in the arm and face while the officer suffered knee injured after being clobbered during the commotion.

“The villagers later informed the injured chief that they did not need the gun and directed that once the chief and the officer recovered from the beating, they should collect the rifle in a classroom at Mung’wa Primary School. We went there and found the rifle,” said Mr Hussein.

According the commissioner, older women including university graduates also voluntarily joined the initiation battalion. A secondary student reportedly threatened to burn her parents’ home if she was not circumcised. She had her way.