Eight women and five elderly men have been sentenced to three years in prison for permitting or assisting the genital mutilation of eighteen young girls in the southern Kolda district of Senegal. Village elders who oppose the practice tipped off the police when they heard that the young girls aged between 2 and 5 years had been circumcised among a group of boys.
The arrest has sparked outrage among 61 village elders from the region who have demanded the release of the prisoners, addressing themselves to the president of Senegal. They are threatening violence, as they are unable to understand the law or accept it.
Despite the law and the valuable work of organisations such as TOSTAN it emerges that FGM has become more prevalent among the Fulani, Mendingo and Fula tribes in the Southern Casamance Province.
There is a growing concern that the law will force the practice of FGM further underground, and cause parents to take their daughters to the Gambia and Guinea Bissau, where the practice is not illegal.