MINISTER ORDERS FOR ARREST OF FGM SURGEONS

MINISTER ORDERS FOR ARREST OF FGM SURGEONS

The State minister for Gender and Culture, Ms Peace Mutuuzo, has ordered local authorities in Bukwo District in Sebei Sub-region to identify the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) cutters, commonly known as surgeons, and hand them over to the government.

Ms Mutuuzo made the remarks while addressing local leaders and residents during an anti-FGM cross boarder meeting at Tulwo Cell in Riwo Town Council, Bukwo, last Friday.

She said the surgeons are partly responsible for the resumption of the banned practice.

“When we get them, we will give them another opportunity by taking them for training so that they are rehabilitated to abandon the practice but if they do it again, we will imprison them,” Ms Mutuuzo said, adding that the surgeons are known to the locals and usually attend anti-FGM meetings.

Ms Mutuuzo’s orders come on the backdrop of the increased cases of FGM, especially in Bukwo, which has risen from 3 percent in 2019 to around 20 percent in 2021, according to district officials. In other neighbouring districts such Kween and Kapchorwa, the vice has risen to 10 percent.

The district leadership has mapped the hotspot sub-counties as Riwo, Chepwasta, Kapsarur, Kortek, and Mutushet. Most of them neighbour Kenya, where FGM is less restricted.

Ms Mutuuzo said the government will come up with several interventions including setting up a radio station, building a secondary school for girls with a boarding section and also strengthening security enforcement in the affected sub-counties.

“We are going to put up a court of law to reprimand the perpetrators and also have a prison constructed here [Bukwo] to stop FGM,” she said.

The government banned FGM in 2010, punishing any person convicted of the practice up to 10 years in jail, among other sentences. Mr Sam Kapmwasir, one of the elders, told media that the resumption of FGM is a sign that the vice is deeply rooted.

“The only way to stop it [FFM] is through massive sensitisation and not arrests and imprisonment,” Mr Kapmwasir said.

He said the surgeons, elders and mentors are using the thick bushes of Mt Elgon National Park, hard-to-reach valleys and hills as a safe haven to carry out FGM.

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