Gang kills police officer who rescued six girls from FGM in Embombut forest

A police officer was Monday killed by a gang that attacked a rescue team that had busted an FGM rite in Elgeyo Marawet county in an operation in Embobut forest.

The gang suspected to comprise bandits was protecting the circumcisers attending the banned rite in Embobut forest.
Six girls who had already been circumcised were rescued and are recuperating at Iten County Referral Hospital, County Police Commander Peter Mulinge confirmed to Nation.Africa.

The incident happened just a day after a Catholic priest was Saturday attacked after attempting to intervene and stop an FGM rite that was going on in Kamoi village where 15 girls are said to have been cut.

According to the police commander, a confrontation ensued between the circumcisers’ protectors and the police rescue team that had been dispatched to Embobut forest to rescue tens of girls who were said to have been rounded up to undergo the banned rite.
Nation.Africa has established that female circumcision is going on behind closed doors this holiday season and under tight security of bandits who are ready to confront police.

The rescue team had rescued six girls and taken them to hospital before the gangs protecting the circumcisers pursued them to the police post.

“There was a rescue operation for girls who were undergoing FGM, and some of the girls had already been mutilated. There were many but six were rescued, but those who were conducting the rite were also protected by bandits and so they turned against the officers” Mr Mulinge said.

“The officers were not overpowered. The gang felt aggrieved and followed them to the police post and caught one of the officers unawares and they killed him within the police post,” he said.

“We don’t know the exact number, but there were many girls,” said the officer.

At Chesoi rescue centre, there are at least 71 rescued girls according to the county police commandant who escaped the knife following their lucky rescue.

Although it is outlawed and criminalized under Kenyan lawyers, FGM is still prevalent in North Rift counties, especially in Elgeyo Marawet, West Pokot, and parts of Baringo counties.

Rights activist Viola Cherono from Embobut, Marakwet East,

said the FGM problem has reached alarming levels and demands urgent intervention. Girls are being cut at alarming levels and those doing it don’t care about the law anymore,”

“We have been having this challenge of girls going through FGM in this region, particularly in Embobut and Endoo wards where the numbers are alarming and we have been able to rescue some girls,” she said.

Concerning the Monday incident, she said police from Tot came to carry out the rescue operation and one of the officers was shot in the head by the mob that stormed the station in Maron

According to Ms Cherono, the mob wanted to set the officer’s body on fire but police quickly mobilised their numbers to repulse them. His body was being moved Maron to Kapsowar Mission Hospital on Monday night.

“More than 500 girls have been assembled in the forest and homes. The number was 340 girls last week,” she said.

“Daily girls are being cut in Endoo and Embombut wards. Embombut people are very wild and if you are an activist or police, they will come for you,” she stated.

Mr Mulinge declared that a major operation is ongoing in the region targeting the female genital mutilators in the region.
“We cannot allow this to continue because this is outlawed. We are carrying out an operation to flush out the circumcisers and the bandits,” he said.

“The terrain is very poor and movement is difficult in the Elgeyo escarpment, and it is a forest making it difficult for the rescue team to navigate,” he said.

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