An intricate web of illegal Female Genital Mutilation practices involving Kenyan girls being secretly shipped into neighbouring Tanzania for circumcision has been unearthed.
Reports show that families looking to marry off their teenage girls sneak them to Tanzania using boda bodas during the wee hours of the morning.
They are then driven for around five hours from Oloitoktok to Moshi through Tarakea into Arusha which is about 170 kilometres before undergoing the cut.
The girls are later taken to a hideout in relatives’ homes for the healing process before returning back home.
According to OLoitoktok Senior Chief Isaiah Samana noted that cross border FGM has been a challenge in Kajiado over the last few years since the Kenyan government passed punitive laws to curb the heinous act.
“The girls are still being subjected to FGM but the biggest challenge is finding out where the cut is undertaken as it is done very secretly but once we find out we ensure the suspects are arrested and taken to court”, he confirmed.
“Most of Maasai from Kajiado have relatives across the border so they use it as an excuse to go and circumcise the girls,” he added.
One survivor identified as Emilia,16, detailed how her father tricked her into undergoing the cut back in 2018.
Emilia, a class eight pupil narrated that in 2018 at the age of 13, her father tricked her to visit relatives in Arusha without knowing that she was being taken for the cut.
“My father had planned for me to visit my relatives in Tanzania however upon arrival, I underwent the cut and was forced to stay there until I recovered. I did not go to the hospital. I was also threatened not to tell anyone back in Kenya,” she said in tears.
Her circumcision was to be followed by an early marriage which didn’t take place thanks to the authorities who were swift to arrest the father and put her into a rescue centre.
The father was prosecuted and detained for one month in Loitoktok prison but later transferred to home arrest which he is still serving.
Another survivor identified as Simaloi,17, from Rombo, was rescued by Loitotok police officers hours before her planned trip to Tanzania by her uncles.
The class 8 pupil, said her mother (widow), disclosed to her about the planned trip and together with her big sister helped her escape.
“After my father’s death, my uncles took over our home and inheritance forcing us to drop out of school. They then planned a trip for me and my sister to undergo the cut in Tanzania but my mum disclosed the information to us and organised how we could escape through the chief and the plan was successful,” Simaloi noted.