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Kenyan villagers battle police in defence of female circumcision -paper

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Thu, 8 Dec 2011 11:05 GMT
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NAIROBI (TrustLaw) – Armed youths battled the police in southern Kenya, demanding the release of two women arrested for carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM), the Daily Nation reported on Thursday.

In Kuria, near the Kenya-Tanzania border, hundreds of girls as young as eight have been circumcised in the last few weeks, even though the practice is illegal.

When the police arrested two women circumcisers who were cutting young girls, locals blocked their vehicle, demanding the women’s release. The police had to fire in the air to scare off the protestors, the report said.

Armed youths then engaged the police in running battles along the busy Kenya-Tanzania highway.

The local councilor defended the cut, saying it is part of Kuria culture.

“The government allowed us to circumcise the men, which we did, but then we later wondered: now that we have taken men through the initiation, must we not create a pool of women from where they can marry? That is why we have decided to undertake the practice,” Protrus Kohe told the newspaper.

In Kenya, 32 per cent of women aged 15 to 49 have undergone FGM, the paper said.

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