Crackdown on circumcision
JOHANNESBURG: Female circumcision, known as female genital mutilation (FGM), continues to be a problem in Tanzania, with more than 800 girls subjected to the practice in December alone, despite a police crackdown.
Twelve women suspected to have carried out the ritual, which involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia, were arrested as police investigations into the case continue.
About 140 million females across Africa, parts of the Middle East and Asia are affected by the practice which is deemed culturally appropriate for preserving purity before marriage.
The practice is often carried out in unhygienic circumstances on girls aged 12 to 17, leading to numerous deaths.
Up to 7.9 million girls and women in Tanzania are thought to have undergone FGM, the illegal procedure often carried out in secret initiation ceremonies.
In rural areas 18 percent of women have been subjected to FGM, in urban areas 7 percent, the German NGO GIZ reported
Last week a senior official in Tanzania’s Ministry of Health warned communities to stop embracing the harmful tradition.
“FGM should be made history in Tanzania,” said the ministry’s permanent secretary, Sihaba Nkinga. “As a government, we can’t afford to see such acts continuing to happen. – ANA