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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Female genital mutilation still persists in Cameroon

APA - Douala (Cameroon) Many Cameroonian women undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), with the magnitude of the disaster particularly reported in four of the country’s ten regions, APA learns Sunday from reliable sources.

The phenomenon affects more than 20 percent of the female population, according to official statistics released by the Ministry of Women and Family Promotion (MINPROFF).

The second World Day to Combat Female Genital Mutilation marked Friday under the theme "Fighting Against Female Genital Mutilation: a commitment for all”, was the occasion to note that the practice was still rooted in Cameroonian society.

These regions are Central, Eastern, Far North and the South-west, where there is a high concentration of animists and Muslims but also among the Christians in Yaounde, the capital.

Studies have shown that three types of FGM are practiced in Cameroon.

These include the type of excision called “Sunna”, which refers to the removal of part of the clitoris, then the “Clitoridectomy”, which is a complete removal of the clitoris with labia minora and finally the “infibulation”, that is an excision combined with removal of the labia majora with suturing of the two stumps.

“People used to cut them with the stalks of millet, then the razor blade, but nowadays knife is used to do so,” an excision practitioner said.

In addition to the psychological implications, women who have undergone genital mutilations face many risks such as the STDs/AIDS contamination, tetanus, including death itself.

The Cameroon Family Code does not recognize female genital mutilation, which exposes practitioners to custodial sentences and fines.