13 August 2014

Kenya: Police Deployed to Moi's Bridge to Protect Luos, Tesos From Forced Circumcision

Photo: Edward Echwalu/IRIN
Men seek refuge at a police station after forced circumcision (file photo).

POLICE are guarding Turkana, Teso and Luo communities at Moi's Bridge on the border of Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu counties to stop forced male circumcision. Twelve men have been forcibly circumcised causing others to seek refuge at a police station.

More than 200 men who faced threats of being cut had camped at the local police station but they have now been released to go back to their homes under police security.

The circumcision season for the Bukusu community is ongoing in Western Kenya. Some members of communities that do not practise circumcision have fled for safety.

"There are some men from the local community who have been saying that we have to face the cut," said resident David Ekai, who was forcibly circumcised. He said circumcision is against his ancestral tradition and that they should not be forced to go through it, but he is happy that he can now walk freely in the community.

"This will give me freedom to live here peacefully," Ekai told the Star on Monday. Interestingly, one of the wives of the men who underwent the cut forcibly, said she is happy that her husband is now a "total man".

Police in the area said they will protect those who do not want to go through the rite. Local Bukusu elder John Nangabo said all men should be circumcised because it signifies passage from childhood to adulthood.

"It also helps to prevent spread of diseases like HIV-Aids," he said. However the elder said men should be convinced to undergo the cut and not forced.

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