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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Kenya shock at mutilation death
Julia Kanuu, mother of Pamela, holding her three-month-old daughter, Janet
Pamela's mother, Julia Kanuu, did not want her daughter to be circumcised
Kenyan villagers have been shocked by the death of girl who bled to death after trying to perform female genital mutilation (FGM) on herself.

Pamela Kathambi did the procedure on her own because she was being teased by her friends for not being circumcised in the remote village of Irindi.

Her mother told the BBC that she had refused to allow her 15-year-old to undergo female circumcision last year.

FGM is banned in Kenya, but remains common in some areas.

In some communities it is believed that circumcision will maintain a girl's honour and is part of a girl's initiation into womanhood.

She used to be called names by her age mates and friends - 'mukenye' - the name given to uncircumcised ladies
Pamela's mother Julia Kanuu

Julia Kanuu said she found her daughter lying in her bed on Sunday, complaining of a stomach-ache and she had asked for some tea.

It was only after the tea had been made that Pamela admitted what she had done to herself.

"She used to be called names by her age mates and friends - 'mukenye' - the name given to uncircumcised ladies," Mrs Kanuu said.

"I realised that girls who are not circumcised have gone ahead with education and are doing well in life so I didn't want her to be circumcised."

'Hard-working'

The BBC's Wanyama Chebusiri says scores of villagers were milling around the family's homestead discussing the issue in low tones a day after her burial on Wednesday.

A girl undergoing circumcision
Female circumcision is banned by the Kenyan government
"Pamela's death is a loss to the village because she was a very hard-working lady who would have studied and become someone in the future," one woman said.

A local chief in Meru district, central Kenya, said this was the first instance of self circumcision he had heard about and the government had stepped its anti-FGM campaign.

The FGM operation involves the partial or total removal of the external genital organs.

It is practised in 28 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.


SEE ALSO
Kenyan girls flee mutilation
07 Feb 03 |  Africa
Kenya bans FGM among young
12 Dec 01 |  Africa
'I had female circumcision'
13 May 04 |  Health

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