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Girl, 10, dies after female genital mutilation in Bo

By Aruna Kamara

Rights groups have renewed calls for the government of Sierra Leone to end the practice of Female Genital Mutilation practice after girl bleeds to death following initiation into the Bondo secret society.

The 10-year-old Lucinda who lives with her family in Sembehun in Bo district  died after undergoing female genital mutilation during the initiation of girls in that part of the country.

This is the second time a girl have died during initiation in Bo district this year the first was in early February. Report says over 30 girls were initiated leaving Lucinda to bleed to death following complications from the FGM procedure.

Family sources say the ceremony took place in the Bondo Society bush. A number of women, as well as cutters, known as soweis, are currently been questions by the police the report says.

Activist Solomon Kanneh a student at Fourah Bay College who also doubles as cousin to the deceased young girl have join other activist to call on the government to end the practice.

Late Lucinda, had just sat to promotional exams when she was grab and rushed off to the initiation bush, said Kanneh.

This is the second time that a girl has died in our family line from excessive bleeding after being initiated, and the father was against it this time, but the mother wanted it.

Five of the girls who were initiated into the secret women’s society at the ceremony, all aged between 10 and 11, including the mother have been invited to the police station for questioning, Kanneh said.

Activist Kanneh said they will pursue this case to its logical conclusion noting that together with his colleagues will mount more campaigns and pressure on government to stop the practice.

FGM is a common practice in Sierra Leone, where nine in 10 girls are cut, often with crude instruments such as penknives, and razor blades, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The ritual involves the partial or full removal of the female genitalia and can cause serious health injuries.

With the government enacting the three Gender laws, that talks about harmful practice yet FGM has a strong government lobby. People in government uses FGM as a political tool and the reason they are failing to outlaw the practice.

Several campaigns have been launched by right groups focusing on harmful traditional practice early marriage and rape yet the practice of FGM is still rampant in the country leading to the deaths of girls.

Published: February 2, 2010

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