2 March 2017

Gambia: Grandfather and Circumciser Arrested and Granted Bail On FGM Offence

A grandfather who is said to have hailed from Toniataba village and a circumciser Mariama Sura of Sankuya village both from Jarra in the Lower River Region, were arrested on Monday night, and taken to Mansankonko police station where both suspects were seen by this reporter on the 28th of February 2017. On 01st of March, the police confirmed that both parties were released on bail in the sum of (D50.000) fifty thousand dalasi with two Gambian sureties each, pending investigation.

Per police information, the circumciser is charged under section 32A of the Women's Act 2015 which reads:

"(2) A person who engages in Female circumcision commits an offense and liable on conviction:

To imprisonment for a term of three years or a fine of fifty thousand Dalasi or to both."

The grandfather is charged under section 32B of the Act (Accomplices to female circumcision). Subsection (1) of this section reads:

"A person who requests, incites or promotes female circumcision by providing tools or by any other means commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of three years or a fine of fifty thousand Dalasi or to both."

Both are also charged for conspiracy to commit an offence.

The allegation is that the grandfather of the six-year-old girl authorized the circumciser to perform female genital mutilation on his granddaughter and they were all in their custody whilst both parents of the circumcised girl, left to teach in their different schools as Quranic teachers in Jarra Soma some kilometres away from their settlement. The commissioner lamented that he lacked the Women's Amendment Act on FGM 2015 at their disposal but have now received copies of the Act which will be useful in the case.

The Acting Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP, Mrs. Mary Small indicated that when the case was reported to GAMCOTRAP, they travelled to Mansakonko to get the details just to find out that the circumciser was trained and has been engaged in activities carried out in the region. She urged the public to desist from the practice of FGM.


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