A campaign aganst FGM staged in Kenya in 2007. In the UK 137,000 women have endured the procedure. (Photo:Reuters)
A Kenyan woman who carried out female genital mutilation on a 16-year-old girl who then bled to death has been given an amnesty after agreeing to stop the practice, police said Thursday.
"We have extended an amnesty to her because she came out and owned up," said Charles Wasike, the police chief in West Pokot county, situated on the border with Uganda.
"She is an example to others, and we encourage similar people to come out and own up," he told AFP.
Kenya outlawed FGM in 2011, with practitioners punishable by a minimum three-year jail term or fine, and life imprisonment if the procedure causes death.
The Standard newspaper said the woman, Cheponger Yarasia, admitted to police that the girl's parents had sought her out to perform the ritual because their daughter was pregnant, and that giving birth before undergoing FGM was considered taboo.
The report said the procedure went wrong and the girl bled to death.
FGM, which affects tens of millions of women particularly in the Horn of Africa and East Africa, ranges from removal of the clitoris to the mutilation and removal of other female genitalia.
Teresa Lokichu, an anti-FGM campaigner, said the girl's parents had refused to take her to hospital in order to conceal the ordeal.
"The young girl died a month ago, but the woman who circumcised her came out two weeks ago," Lokichu said, explaining that she had marshalled the help of local church leaders to get the woman to come clean, go to the police and sign a promise not to do it again.
"It's a rampant practice among many nomadic communities in the region," she said.
Local media reported that the woman said she would circumcise 50 girls per day during holiday seasons, and charged between three and five US dollars for the procedure.