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February 23, 2019

Girl killed for refusing to marry grandfather

Pokot children and elderly women turn up for a free malaria clinic at Kongor in Tiaty, Baringo County on October 6, 2017. /JOSEPH KANGOGO
Pokot children and elderly women turn up for a free malaria clinic at Kongor in Tiaty, Baringo County on October 6, 2017. /JOSEPH KANGOGO

A 13-year-old girl was beaten to death by six Pokot youths on Saturday for refusing marriage to a 60-year-old grandfather.

The teenager was among hundreds of girls who recently underwent female genital mutilation in Tiaty, Baringo county.

“Her parents forced her to marry a 60-year-old man. She resisted. Maybe that is the reason the village warriors decided to discipline her and in the process of the beating she lost her life on the spot,” a source told the Star on Sunday.

The incident took place at Nasorot village in Tiaty subcounty.

The old man was expected to part with a number of livestock as dowry to the girl’s family and have her as his fifth wife.

Tiaty East deputy commissioner Steve Muonge said he is yet to receive information about the killing.

“If that is true then the culprits should be arrested immediately to face murder charges, which is what I will instruct my officers on the ground to do right away,” Muonge said.

He said the areas bordering Nasorot, Akwichatis, Silale and Mondi are notorious for FGM and early marriage, especially during August school holidays.

Nasorot villagers were yesterday preparing to conduct a traditional cleansing ritual known as ‘Labai’ to punish the wrongdoers.

The process demands that the entire clan of the perpetrators hands over a huge number of cows or goats to be shared evenly among the members of the deceased girl’s clan.

“If the entire agreement is 600 head of cattle then an agreement is made to make sure generations of the accused clan are tasked to pay until the last animal so they can be forgiven and cleansed,” one villager said.

Tangulbei Women Network chairwoman Mary Kuket condemned the deadly cultural practices circumventing courts, saying the criminals must be apprehended and handed over to the police.

She said the expansive area of Silale and parts of Tang’ulbei-Korossi wards lack places of worship and schools, which allows the villagers a field day of taking the law in their hands.

“It is heartbreaking to note that a young soul has lost her life in a solvable situation, but the the government and all stakeholders should now come in to discuss ways of fighting the menace of FGM and early marriage once and for all,” she said.

Kuket said many such incidents happen in the localities but most of them go unreported because the villagers decide to solve the matters on their own.

The incident comes barely two weeks after a 12-year-old girl from Embositit village in Tirioko ward, was forced to marry three, 60-yearold men. She was rescued by a missionary.

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