SAFE HOLIDAY

Kenya to partner with Uganda in crossborder war on FGM

Girls from Pokot are sneaked into Uganda to undergo the cut

In Summary

• The Pokot community lives on both sides of the Kenya-Uganda border.

• North Pokot subcounty is one of the regions where people still practise FGM.

The government will collaborate with Uganda to ensure no girls are cut during the November-December holiday.

This was disclosed on Thursday by North Pokot subcounty police commander Nathan Sanya. He said they will ensure all girls are safe. The Pokot community lives on both sides of the Kenya-Uganda border. Sanya said they took the decision following fears that girls might be sneaked into Uganda to undergo the cut.

“We are going to work closely with our counterparts to ensure no girl is subjected to outdated cultural practice. We have put in place measures to ensure our girls are protected,” he said.

The subcounty is one of the regions that still practise FGM. Sanya said they are determined to eliminate the practice. He warned parents against colluding with circumcisers to mutilate their daughters. Those found will be prosecuted, he said.

"We are aware some parents are planning for the ceremonies. We are alert and those found will be arrested and prosecuted. We can't continue subjecting our girls to harmful cultural practices,” he said.

Chiefs and their assistants have been brought on board to make sure girls stay at home safely. Last year, non-governmental organisations complained of high numbers of girls who crossed to Uganda to undergo the cut secretly.

Since FGM was made illegal, many parents plan the circumcision ceremonies secretly. Sanya appealed to parents and guardians to monitor their children so they do not engage in illegal activities.

"Let’s be watchdogs of our children. As parents, we need to be aware of what our children do and where they visit," he said.

(Edited by F'Orieny)