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FGM: nearly 3000 girls are paraded in Kenya as pandemic hinders control efforts

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 28 October 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4165
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

About 2800 girls from southwestern Kenya’s Kuria community who recently underwent female genital mutilation (FGM) have been paraded through town centres in recent weeks, as local traditional leaders make the most of reduced police vigilance during the covid-19 pandemic.

The girls, aged about 12, are showered with gifts from market crowds as they march in tinselled blankets, carrying balloons to signify their recent ordeal. The processions are accompanied by groups of machete wielding men, who warn the police and local anti-FGM activists not to intervene.

The Kuria people’s “Esaro” initiation ceremonies begin in late September with the circumcision of boys, and girls generally follow, sometimes disguised as boys to trick the police. At least 80 Kuria girls from Migori who fled home to escape FGM are being sheltered in the Taranganya girls’ secondary …

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