Reuters: Witchcraft beliefs blamed for halting drive to end FGM in Guinea

13 March, 2020

Extract below. Full text here: https://news.trust.org/item/20200310212503-pjvl6/

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LONDON, March 10 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Belief in witchcraft is hampering efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) in Guinea where almost all girls are cut, campaigners said on Tuesday.

Aminata Bah, who underwent FGM at the age of five, said many people in the West African country believed traditional circumcisers had supernatural powers and girls feared being cursed if they spoke about what had happened to them.

With 97% of women cut, Guinea is estimated to have the second highest prevalence of FGM globally after Somalia.

Although most people are Muslim, belief in witchcraft is widespread, Bah told the Thomson Reuters Foundation at an event hosted by the National FGM Centre.

In some communities, she said the flesh removed from girls during the ritual was used for spells or in traditional medicines to cure illnesses and infertility.

An anti-FGM charity in Nigeria, where a quarter of women have been cut, recently tweeted that some circumcisers sell clitorises to "fetish priests" who turn them into aphrodisiacs...

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Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org