Brave Catholic Priest in Kenya Faces Brutal Assault by Mob While Heroically Rescuing Girls from the Grips of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

The Parish Priest of St. Kizito Catholic Church in Kenya’s Diocese of Eldoret sustained severe injuries in an attack while attempting to rescue young girls from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) outside the Parish premises.

In an interview on Wednesday, December 13, Fr. Amos Kimutai, recognized for his fervent dedication to combating FGM in the Embobut community of Kenya’s Elgeyo Marakwet County, shared that the assault occurred on the morning of December 9. At that time, he was preparing to officiate a wedding in one of the outstations of the Parish.

“I started hearing altercations outside our fence from 6 a.m. I could recognize them as noises of circumcision from the songs that the crowd was singing,” Fr. Amos recounted.

Despite making numerous attempts to report the incident to the police, Fr. Amos decided to intervene upon hearing the frightened cries of young girls. Armed with his usual walking stick, he confronted a group of six men wielding sticks and machetes who were surrounding elderly women performing the circumcision.

“I could see a group of about 50 young girls and some women who were being circumcised while the men stood on guard to ensure that no one interfered with the process,” he further recalled.

In his efforts to drive the men away, Fr. Amos was met with blows, machetes, and stones, resulting in injuries to his head, neck, back, and hands. Outnumbered, he had to find a way to escape, leaving the group to complete the circumcision.

While recuperating at a hospital in Eldoret town two days later, Fr. Amos learned that an elderly police officer who rescued another group of girls from FGM in Embobut was stoned to death and his body burnt in a mattress on December 11.

Speaking on the prevalent issue of FGM in Marakwet East, Fr. Amos emphasized the deeply rooted nature of the practice and the challenges he faces in his efforts to combat it, risking his own safety.

“It is the season of circumcision here. Hundreds of people have been circumcised across this region, and the community is unstoppable,” he said.

Fr. Amos highlighted that FGM is held in high regard among the Marakwet subtribe, occurring every 10 years based on the alignment of stars. Despite its illegality in Kenya, the practice lacks health precautions, leading to unhygienic conditions and potentially life-threatening complications.

The Catholic Priest stressed the societal pressure associated with circumcision, with those who shun it facing stigma. He acknowledged the difficulties faced by girls running away from FGM, referring 75 circumcised girls to a safe house to protect them from forced marriages.

“I have lost count of the girls I took to the shelter to protect them from FGM,” he said, expressing his desire to provide better facilities for their safety.

Despite facing resistance and dangers from the community elders, Fr. Amos continues to champion social justice, striving to be the voice of voiceless children subjected to circumcision against their will.

Source: www.aciafrica.org

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