Two girls die in Sierra Leone, Guinea after undergoing circumcision


Police in Sierra Leone have confirmed the death of a 19-year-old girl after undergoing a botched female circumcision, just days after the death of a 10-year-old girl in Guinea.

The remains of former high-school pupil Fatmata Turay were discovered on Monday evening and remain at a regional government hospital.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is widespread in the neighbouring West African countries, with about 90% of women in both countries undergoing circumcision.

Teenager Fatmata Turay died after she was circumcised in an initiation ceremony in the village of Mabolleh in north Sierra Leone. Mathew Jabbie, northern region crime officer, told Anadolu Agency that three female suspects – including the girl’s mother and a nurse who secretly treated the teenager before she died – were among those detained.

“There will be an investigation into the circumstances which led to the death of this girl,” said vice minister of social affairs Rugiatu Turay.

The death comes just days after a 10-year-old girl in Makpozou, a forested area in the south of Guinea, died in similar circumstances, according to the country’s social action ministry.

The child died in a circumcision camp for young girls, the ministry said.

Guinea’s government urged communities that practise FGM to “stop sacrificing the girls”, and said it was committed to the fight against the “vile practice”.

Female circumcision is common in West Africa, where it is considered a female rite of passage and where practitioners can earn up to $50 per girl.

Sierra Leone recently ratified a 2003 African Union protocol that seeks to ban FGM.