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.


Four die in UK chemical tank blast: Police

Updated 03 December 2020

Four die in UK chemical tank blast: Police

  • Avon and Somerset Police Chief Inspector said the incident was not terror-related
  • The explosion at the plant operated by Wessex Water occurred in a silo that holds treated bio-solids before they are recycled as organic soil conditioners

LONDON: Four people died on Thursday when a chemical tank exploded at a waste water treatment plant in western England, police said.
"We can confirm there have been four fatalities," Avon and Somerset Police Chief Inspector Mark Runacres said after the explosion at the plant at Avonmouth, near Bristol.
A fifth person was injured but their injuries were not said to be life-threatening, he added.
Police said they would not be speculating on the cause of the explosion but added it was not being treated as terror related.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he was "deeply saddened to learn that four people have lost their lives".
"Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. Thank you to the emergency services who attended the scene," he added.
The explosion at the plant operated by Wessex Water occurred in a silo that holds treated bio-solids before they are recycled as organic soil conditioners, added Runacres.
Witness Jawad Burhan said there was a "helicopter looking for missing people" and police closed a nearby road leading up to the plant.
"I heard the sound, I'm working beside the building in another warehouse. After 10 minutes I saw the helicopter coming and the police," he said.
Another witness, Kieran Jenkins, told the BBC he was in a nearby warehouse when the explosion occurred, saying it was "shaking and we literally stood there in shock.
"Next thing you know we looked out of the windows and all we could see was people running.
"We don't know what happened. It was a bit of a shock really. I heard a bang... we didn't know what was going on."
An investigation has been launched into the blast with the Health and Safety Executive.