Two sisters have died in Somalia from complications that arose after undergoing female genital mutilation, according to Hawa Aden Mohamed, who campaigns against the procedure.
Ten-year-old Aasiyo Abdi Warsame and her sister, Khadijo, 11, died a day after they were subjected to the procedure in the remote village of Arawda in Puntland State on September 11, said Aden Mohamed, director of the Somalia’s women’s rights group Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development. According to Aden Mohammed, the sisters were cut the same day by a local circumciser.
They continued bleeding 24 hours after the procedure, and died while their mother was taking them to a health center, Aden Mohamed said.
“Unfortunately, they never made it to the hospital as they all died on the way,” said Aden Mohamed, who has been calling for legislation banning the practice commonly done on young girls in Somalia.
The sisters’ death comes two months after Somalia’s government vowed to pursue a landmark prosecution in the case of a 10-year-old girl who died after female genital mutilation, a practice that is legal in the country.
Deeqa Dahir Nuur died two days after she was subjected to one of the most extreme forms of female genital mutilation, according to doctors who tried to save her after she suffered complications from the procedure performed by a local cutter in another village in Somalia on July 17.
Aden Mohamed, a survivor of the procedure, said young girls continue to bear the consequences of the practice because of the government’s reluctance to pass anti-female genital mutilation laws.
“It is another sad story coming even before the dust settles and action is taken in the Deeqa case. Yet there seems to be reluctance in discussing and passing the anti-FGM law,” she said.
“We hope that this will serve as a wake-up call for those responsible to see the need to have the law in place to protect girls from this heinous practice,” Aden Mohamed added.
In Somalia, 98% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been cut, the highest rate in the world, according to United Nations statistics.
The report said around 200 million girls and women in the world are affected by the practice.
Female genital mutilation involves the altering or removing of the female genitals, such as the clitoris or labia. The procedure can cause severe bleeding and health issues including infections and infertility, as well as complications in childbirth.
The practice is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, but remains widespread in Somalia, where more than half the female population believe it should not be abolished.