Taken into custody

Last February four female journalists in Sierra Leone were attacked, forced to strip and marched through a town by a pro-FGM group.

Witnesses said the four were accused of reporting on an anti-FGM campaign last Friday, which marked the international day of zero tolerance to female circumcision. The women were allegedly abducted by a pro-FGM group in the eastern city of Kenema, then stripped naked and marched through the streets before police and human rights organisations intervened to set them free.

The significance of their being stripped and marched through the streets is of course obvious – it’s the pinching and spitting and shouts of ‘Kintirlee!‘ all over again. The point was to say ‘Look at these disgusting shameful horrible uncut women with their grotesque hideous shocking unfixed genitals.’

Witnesses said the women were forcibly taken to the forest headquarters of the Bondo society, a secret organisation of women which traditionally carries out female genital mutilation as part of initiation rites…Speaking to journalists, the head of the Bondo society, Haja Massah Kaisamba, would not comment on the allegations other than saying the four women were taken into “our custody because they spoke unfavourably on radio against FGM”.

Ah. Well that’s a fairly comprehensive comment right there. It says that people who speak against FGM are subject to being abducted by the Bondo society. What more does she need to say?

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