A magistrate’s court in the Central River Region has sentenced three women to a fine of D15,000 each in default to serve one year in prison for circumcising eight children. The children were within the ages of 4 months and 1 year, campaign group Gamcoptrap said in a statement.

 It said the case is the first verdict for the crime of FGM since the enactment of the law prohibiting the practice in 2015.

According to the group, the trio are Mba Yasin Fatty the circumciser, Nano Jawla and Kaddijatou Jallow mothers of the circumcised children. They were reportedly caught circumcising the children in the village of Niani Bakadagi-Mandinka CRR North.

“This is a testament that The Gambia is committed to applying the law when the matter is brought before the courts and we appreciate the efforts made by the government and the Maribantang Chambers for ensuring that justice is done to protect the girl-child and end FGM in The Gambia.

While this is progress in the application of the law, a lot needs to be done to end FGM in The Gambia,” Gamcotrap said. The group urged all actors who are receiving funds from partners in the fight against FGM to be committed to the cause. “It must be realised that the affected circumciser [ Mba Yasin Fatty] broke the law banning FGM and oath she made in 2013 not to circumcise anymore. She was trained by Gamcotrap and was among the batch of circumcisers who swore to abandon the practice in 2013 among the 30 circumcisers during the 4th Dropping of the knife Ceremony in Wassu.

 “She was given a bakery and her son was trained to operate it as an alternative employment opportunity to abandon the knife and was given extra resources to address the challenge she was having in the bakery business. In a recent joint monitoring visit by UNFPA, NPC, and implementing partners she informed the team that there was no circumcision in her community,”Gamcotrap said.

Reacting to the verdict, renowned anti-FGM campaigner and head of Gamcotrap Dr Isatou Touray, twitted: “Huge congratulations to Gamcotrap for their victory in securing a landmark conviction of violators of the Women’s Act 2010, which criminalised FGM in The Gambia! As a committed activist, I remain steadfast in my commitment to ensure this law is applied. Let’s all join hands with our partners to protect girls from this harmful practice by enforcing the law.”

Source: The Standard

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