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About 500 say ‘No’ to FGM, seek protection

NEARLY 500 girls have fled the ongoing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) season and camped at the Association of Female Genital Mutilation Termination (ATFGM) Masanga centre several kilometres from Tarime town in Mara Region.

Tarime District Commissioner (DC), Engineer Mtemi Msafiri officially opened the 2019 FGM rescue camp on Thursday.

The DC said the government was working hard in collaboration with local and international partners to stop the harmful culture which subjects young girls to humiliation and severe pains during and after the cut.

He thanked ATFGM Masanga for continuing to save many girls from undergoing FGM in the region and the neigbouring parts of Kenya.

ATFGM Masanga Project Manager, Valerian Mgani said many girls who fled were from Tanzania and a few from neigbouring Kenya.

“Already we have received 492 girls, 434 of whom are from Tanzania and 58 are from the Kenyan side “, Mr Mgani said in part of the report read to the DC.

The DC urged the youth to live in harmony at the centre and maintain discipline until they return home after the FGM season.

“Live here as brothers and sisters; Kenya and Tanzania are good friends and we have a natural bond, “ the DC said.

ATFGM Masanga Director Sr Stella Mgaya said the girls were escaping after understanding the effects of FGM due to ongoing anti- FGM campaigns within the communities that still embrace the harmful culture.

“Some of these girls have come without the consent of their parents. This means that some parents have also begun to realize that FGM is dangerous,” she said.

There are unconfirmed reports that several women circumcisers locally known as Ngariba have been arrested in connection with the ongoing FGM season in the area.

ATFGM Masanga says it has so far rescued over 3,000 girls since it was established, thanks to all partners supporting the initiative.

The ATFGM Masanga is now seen as a safe refuge for girls who are rejecting the culture.

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