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Policewoman who undertook nieces through FGM held

By Cyrus Ombati | July 22nd 2020

A policewoman who carried out Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on her two nieces has been arrested.

The police constable attached to Tigoni Police Station is said to have taken away her sister's daughters and conducted the act on July 11.

The two girls aged 17 and three were found in a house in Kinoo area Kiambu County where the act was conducted. They were later taken to hospital.

Police said they were informed by the accused officer’s sister that she took the children from her house in Kayole, Nairobi before facilitating for the criminal act.

She then switched off her mobile phone until ten hours later when they managed to trace her to the house in Kinoo. The policewoman is expected in Kikuyu law courts to take plea tomorrow for the incident.

She was detained on July 13 and the court allowed police to hold her until Thursday for plea taking.

In 2011, Kenya passed a law that prohibits FGM and imposes tough penalties on perpetrators and those abetting the practice. The law not only bans the practice in Kenya but also prohibits cross-border FGM and bars medical care givers from carrying out the practice.

In addition, the law holds that consent cannot be cited as an excuse for conducting FGM.

The act has a minimum punishment of three years imprisonment and a Sh200, 000 fine - the most comprehensive anti-FGM legislation in East Africa.

Since the legislation was passed, the country has witnessed a decline in the number of girls who undergo the cut, with law enforcers and other duty bearers working to end this practice.

Despite Kenya banning female genital mutilation in 2011, the tradition of circumcising girls has continued in some ethnic communities. President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to end FGM by 2022, but activists say more needs to be done as millions of girls are still at risk of undergoing the cut.

One in five women and girls aged between 15 and 49 in Kenya have undergone FGM, which usually involves the partial or total removal of the female genitalia and can cause a host of serious health problems, according to the United Nations.

“Kenya commits to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation by 2022,” Kenyatta told a global conference on sexual and reproductive health and rights as part of a series of commitments made by governments at the event in 2019.

“In addition, the country will eliminate all forms of gender-based violence and harmful practices by 2030 through the strengthening of coordination mechanisms and by addressing cultural norms that propagate these practices.”

Northeastern counties such as Mandera and Wajir have prevalence rates of over 90 percent - but anti-FGM campaigners say it has been difficult to work in these areas due to a lack of funds, their remote locations and insecurity.

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