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Ugandan girls sneak into Kenya for circumcision

19 January 2015, 15:24 Godfrey Olukya

Kampala - A good number of girls from areas where female genital mutilation is still being revered in Uganda cross over to Kenya to get circumcised and later return to Uganda.

They reportedly do so because Uganda has passed a tough law against FGM and a good number of female surgeons who have been caught conducting the exercise have been arrested and prosecuted in courts of law.

''The districts in Uganda where FGM is still practiced are on border with Kenya. Interestingly, the tribes at the border districts of Uganda are similar to those in Kenya and they also carry out FGM. So, since the laws in Kenya are not tough against the vice, girls cross from Uganda to Kenya where they are circumcised,''said Peter Kyesang, a leader in Sebei region.

Although over 100 girls crossed to Kenya for circumcision, a total of 86 cases of female genital mutilation took place in Uganda in 2014 in the three practicing districts.

Police said that statistics indicate an increase in reported cases of FGM compared to the past year. In 2013, only 54 cases were reported.

The cases were registered in Kapchorwa, Bukwo and Kween districts all found in the Karamoja sub-region at border with Kenya.

Over 20 people suspected to have been involved in the practice have been arrested this year.

UNICEF supports the arrest and prosecution of those involved.

Data compiled by UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicates that those arrested include 'cutters' or parents, and once convicted the suspects face up to 10 years imprisonment.

Jaya Murthy, UNICEF head of communication said, ''It is good that there is community and political commitment to end the practice. That is why there is an increase in the number of those being prosecuted for perpetrating FGM.''

Murthy said in partnership with government and other partners, they are putting in place a number of interventions to respond to these cases.

Leaders in the three districts have proposed cross-border operations to ensure that girls who cross over to Kenya for circumcision are arrested.

''Young girls who attempt to cross the border should be arrested and interrogated and those found to be going for FGM should be arrested and counseled before being let free,'' said Steven Leku, a councilor in one of the districts.

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