Around 50 girls are undergoing treatment at a hospital in Burkina Faso after they underwent female genital cutting, BBC reported on Tuesday. Minister of Women’s Affairs Laurence Marshall Ilboudo said the numbers could higher because not all the girls have been traced.
Two 60-year-old women, along with the parents of some of the girls, have been arrested. The incidents reportedly took place in the first week of September in Kaya city of the west African country.
An unidentified medical official told Africa News that 12 of the girls have been admitted to the Kaya Regional Hospital and 38 to the Chiphra Protestant Hospital in the capital Ouagadougou. Some of the girls had suffered serious complications, the official said.
Female genital cutting has been illegal in Burkina Faso since 1996, and the country was one of the first in Africa to outlaw the practice. The practice carries a three-year jail term.
On Tuesday, a third child died in Somalia in less than a week after undergoing cutting in Puntland. Two sisters, aged 10 and 11, had died last week after being cut. The third victim fell into a coma and was diagnosed with tetanus before she died on Tuesday.
Jean Paul Murunga, a programme officer working with NGO Equality Now, said a lack of funding to the national committee dedicated to the task has been the main reason for a resurgence in the practice.
He also said younger girls were being targeted since they are less likely to report it. “Previously, girls were cut at older ages like 13, 14, 15 and 16, but [the age] has now decreased because a girl of 13 and above is able speak out,” The Guardian quoted Murunga as saying. He said female genital cutting is becoming less prevalent in Burkina Faso but the rate of prosecutions remains low.