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Women Stand Against Female Genital Mutilation 

By Joe Dinga Pefok

Two women, Ewoobe Ashu and Marie Achale, were Tuesday, January 25, arrested and charged to court for inciting young girls who matched along the streets of Mamfe, destroying private property and burning some government office.

It is said some young girls in the Manyu area had been selected to have their genitals mutilated. Discovering this, their parents contacted Ashu and Marie, who have been standing against female genital mutilation and early marriage of girl children. Ashu and Marie, it is said organised to escape with these girls at night.

News went around the village and they were intercepted and the girls arrested. Reports say Ashu  and Marie were not arrested because the police didn’t want to blow out the issue. However, a source said the next day, Ashu and Marie organised a match, calling on all the young girls to stand behind them for a protest. The result was an open confrontation with the police who brutalised and arrested some of the girls and women. They have been detained and charge to court for destroying government property.

Talking to them in their cell ward, Marie says they will continue fighting for the rights of the girl child until such laws are cancelled. “I’m not afraid to be jailed because if is not the first time it is happening to us, even if it means sacrificing my life, I will fight to the end”, Marie stated. She regretted that while the male child is send to school, young girls are send to get married to old men at their tender ages.

Around the neighbourhood, this reporter overheard some women saying they are planning and putting things together to disturb the court session that will venture in judging those arrested.
Many women around the country have stood behind obnoxious traditional practices like this. Some of them, have been forced to abandoned the fight and flee for safety. A case in point is Mikini who made an impact in the lives of girl children in Muslim areas.

Mikini’s problems with the forces of law and order started during the state of emergency. Being an SDF member, she was arrested, tortured and detained with juveniles. Her detention experiences were not the best as reports said she went through all forms of maltreatment.
Standing firm to protect the rights of the young muslim girl, she used her position of propaganda Secretary in the opposition party to make things happen.

Mrs Fadi, close friend and colleague of  Mikini told this reporter that Mikini became look warm towards activities of the SDF in 2007, after being beaten by the police for party activities.
Mikini and Fadi have been fighting for the Muslim child through an NGO, PMWR (Protection of Muslim Women Rights). In 2008, a child of Fadi had to undergo female genital mutilation after she had been forced marry a 62 year old man.

“I protested and draw the attention of Mikini, who organised a street match. “We move naked in the streets for 2 hours, which is a taboo in our area”, Fadi said. Ashu, Marie, Fadi and Mikini have the same dream, that of seeing the girl succeed. Some observers say until men join them in their fight, then they still have a long way to go.

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