More than 800 girls circumcised in Tanzania despite police crackdown

A traditional east African surgeon holds razor blades before carrying out female genital mutilation on teenage girls. (REUTERS/James Akena/file photo)
Updated 06 January 2017

More than 800 girls circumcised in Tanzania despite police crackdown

DAR ES SALAAM, More than 800 girls were subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) in northern Tanzania last month, a local government official said, despite a police crackdown to stop the practice that affects millions of girls in the east African country.
Twelve women suspected to have carried out the ritual, which involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia, have been arrested as the police investigate the case, Tarime District Commissioner Glorious Luoga said.
“The police operation is still going on. We will not relent until all the perpetrators have been arrested and charged,” Luoga told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
FGM affects an estimated 140 million girls and women across a swathe of Africa and parts of the Middle East and Asia, and is seen as a gateway to marriage and a way of preserving purity.
Up to 7.9 million girls and women in Tanzania are thought to have undergone FGM, with the illegal procedure often carried out in secret initiation, or rite of passage, ceremonies.
The ancient ritual causes numerous health problems that can be fatal.
In Tarime, girls are usually cut between the ages of 12 and 17 in initiation ceremonies performed by circumcisers known as ngariba, often in unhygienic conditions.
On Tuesday a senior official in the Ministry of Health warned communities to stop embracing the harmful tradition.
“FGM should be made history in Tanzania,” the ministry’s permanent secretary Sihaba Nkinga told girls who had completed an alternative rite of passage in Tarime involving reproductive health education.
“As a government, we can’t afford to see such acts continuing to happen. It is not something to be proud of,” she said.


3 funeral workers fired over Maradona coffin photos

Updated 7 sec ago

3 funeral workers fired over Maradona coffin photos

  • The images distributed across social media created outrage, even death threats, across a nation that venerated Maradona
  • Claudio Fernández confirmed that he’d lost his job at the Pinier funeral home, along with his son Ismael and Claudio Medina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina: Three funeral workers have been fired for posing for photos alongside the body of soccer star Diego Maradona shortly before his funeral.
The images distributed across social media created outrage, even death threats, across a nation that venerated Maradona, who died Wednesday of a heart attack at age 60. Tens of thousands lined up for a chance to file past his body at the nation’s presidential palace on Thursday.
Claudio Fernández confirmed to Radio Diez on Friday that he’d lost his job at the Pinier funeral home, along with his son Ismael and Claudio Medina.
One of the images shows Fernández and his son — smiling and with thumb raised — alongside Maradona’s body in the coffin on Thursday. Medina appears in another in the same pose.
Fernández insisted that he hadn’t known they’d planned to take a photograph, much less distribute it. “It was something instantaneous. I’d just raised my head and my son did it like any kid of 18,” he told the radio station.
He said he had been receiving threats from others living in the El Paternal neighborhood where Maradona debuted as a professional in 1976 with the Argentinos Juniors team.
“They know me. I’m from the neighborhood,” Fernández said. “They say they are going to kill us, break our heads.”
The team issued a statement saying it was considering expelling Fernández from its membership rolls.