By Ronaldo Kalangi
Sebei, Uganda: The police in Sipi Region have arrested a 50-year-old woman believed to be behind the practice of Female Genital Mutilation in Sebei district.
Irene Cherop,50, was arrested after a fierce operation carried out in Kween district, which led to many FGM practitioners being arrested. Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said Cherop was arrested with 18 others. “We have 18 suspects including a 50-year old ring leader Irene Cherop; all from Kongilel village, Kaptum sub-county in Kween district, for aiding and abetting FGM. The group was arrested after police foiled their plans to conduct FGM activities in the village,” Enanga said.
Enanga added that “There are also efforts to trace for victims in three separate villages of Kwoser, where 7 girls were allegedly circumcised; and Binyiny village, where an additional seven girls are alleged to have been circumcised. The exercise also attracted mothers who were circumcised immediately after giving birth.” According to Enanga, the police have intensified operations against the vice. “We have meanwhile established contacts with influential community members and other stakeholders to challenge the practice; as well as tasked teachers, health and social care professionals to report cases of FGM once established during the course of their duties in schools and hospitals,” Enanga added. He explained that recent cases of FGM stem from a concept of family honor.
“Only mothers who had undergone circumcision were deemed suitable to grace the male circumcision ceremony of their sons in 2018. As a result mothers started allowing their daughters to undergo circumcision as a way of protecting their future,” he said. Enanga however assured the public of police’s commitment to fight FGM. “The police are absolutely committed to fighting FGM, and do hope that the successful prosecution of the perpetrators including parents, husbands and victims who mutilate others, will act as deterrents,” he noted.