17 April 2014

Kenya: Couple On Murder Charge After Girl Dies in FGM Case

Nairobi — A couple has been remanded in custody for seven days after a 13-year-old girl under their care died after undergoing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The accused are the guardians of the girl who is said to have bled to death after undergoing the cut on Sunday.

Her 12-year-old cousin who was also to face the knife with her managed to run away after realising what her mother and the circumciser wanted to do.

She managed to report to the authorities who immediately moved to the location to carry out the investigations.

But by the time they arrived at the homestead, they found the girl's body lying in a pool of blood.

Assistant County Commissioner, Central Division Kajiado Central Sub-location Abdullahi Osman told Capital FM News that by the time police and prosecutors arrived at the homestead, the family had already dug a grave ready to bury the girl.

"The terrain is very rough... only a four-wheel drive (vehicle) can pass through, but to go up to the homestead, people had to walk and carry the body down. They were about to bury the girl but the chief stopped the burial," he explained.

The man and his wife were arrested on Tuesday and appeared before the Kajiado Magistrate Court's on Wednesday to answer to charges of murder.

Outside the manyatta where the girl lived, lay a mat covered with blood where the body was found.

The circumciser fled on realising that the girl had passed on.

Prosecuting Counsel Peter Mwenda asked the court to have man and wife remanded for seven days to allow police to carry out investigations into the murder case.

The court on granting the request said it was a serious matter and that the couple should remain in custody until police complete the investigations and results of the post-mortem are out.

The case which will be mentioned on April 23, will however be transferred to the Machakos High Court which can handle murder cases.

In another case still at the Kajiado Magistrate's Court, a woman will also remain in custody for seven days pending investigations over her involvement in circumcising girls.

The woman told the court that she used to circumcise girls but has since stopped.

In Narok, a chief was interdicted after two girls who are now in a protection centre underwent FGM.

According to Prosecuting Counsel Christine Nanjala, the three cases are a step forward to fighting FGM which continues to take place despite anti-FGM laws in the country.

She is concerned that the deeply rooted cultural practice continues to put lives of young girls from vulnerable communities at risk, sometimes resulting in death like in the Kajiado case.

However, after the establishment of the FGM Unit in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Nanjala believes through collaboration with organs like police and the courts, FGM will be dealt with decisively.

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