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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 August, 2004, 18:46 GMT 19:46 UK
Circumcision arrests in Burkina
A girl undergoing circumcision
Some 70% of Burkinabe women and girls undergo circumcision
Police in the west African state of Burkina Faso have arrested 14 people for carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM) on young girls.

They are accused of carrying out FGM, banned in Burkina Faso, on 16 girls between the ages of two and 10.

An anonymous tip-off to a local campaign group against female circumcision prompted the arrests.

Without medical assistance, one of the victims would have bled to death, Reuters news agency reports.

Severed artery

It is the fifth time that Adama Barry has been arrested for practising female circumcision, which carries fines of up to $1,500 to three months in prison.

If this little girl had been left at home, she would certainly have died
Dr Michel Akotionga
"This time there will be no leniency. She and her accomplices should get the maximum sanction, so that we're sure such acts won't happen again," said Hortense Palm of the group National Committee for the Fight against Excision, an organisation that campaigns against FGM.

If a victim dies because of the procedure, the sentence can rise to several years' imprisonment.

"When I performed the operation, no blood was spilt," Mrs Barry told Radio Burkina on Tuesday.

But according to Dr Michel Akotionga, who treated the girls afterwards at his clinic, one of them had a severed artery.

"If this little girl had been left at home, she would certainly have died," he said.

FGM involves the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs for cultural reasons.

Despite extensive campaigns against the practice, some 70% of women in Burkina Faso undergo female circumcision, Amnesty International says.


SEE ALSO:
'I had female circumcision'
13 May 04  |  Health
Reversing female circumcision
08 Feb 03  |  Health


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