5-Months-Old Gambian Girl Dies After Female Genital Mutilation

By Sarata Jabbi

A five-month-old girl has died in the Gambia after she was subjected to female genital mutilation by her mother and grandmother.

The baby, Aminata Drammeh, was allegedly taken to a female circumciser, Isatou Camara, who allegedly put her under the knife without anaesthetic or medical supervision. She suffered heavy lost of blood and later died at home.

The matter was later reported to police and both the grandmother Sunkaru Darboe and Saffiatou Darboe of Sankandi village, Kiang West, were arrested and charged at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court with illegal practice of female genital mutilation.

Outlining the case, Police Prosecutor Corporal Kora said on 27th February 2016, the baby’s grandmother and mother conspired to get the baby’s genital mutilated. He added that the grandmother incited and promoted female circumcision when she took her grandchild to be mutilated.

He added that although baby’s mother was aware that her daughter was being subjected to genital mutilation, she failed to report it to the authorities.
Female genital mutilation was traditionally carried out for hundreds of years in the Gambia by older community women in unhygienic conditions and in isolated settings.

The practice involves cutting female genitalia – often when girls are young – to remove their labia and clitoris, which often leads to lifelong health complications, including bleeding, infections, vaginal pain and infertility. 

It was justified and promoted in the Muslim dominated country on religious and traditional grounds.

Almost 80 per cent of women and girls in the country have undergone FGM, with the majority of female survivors claiming they were forced to undergo the procedure because their interpretation of Islam requires it.

But last December, the government decided to ban the practice on the grounds that it was harmful and not mandatory in Islam.

People found guilty of performing the traditional practice could be sentenced to three years imprisonment or receive a D50, 000 fines.

Sunkaru Darboe and Saffiatou Darboe both rejected the allegations and were remanded in prison.
The case continues.

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