‘I better die here than going back home’ 13-year old Baringo girl recounts how her parents forced her to undergo Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Mercy Chepkerker from Riongo village in Tiaty East Sub-county said her parents wanted her circumcised and get married to a 50-year old man in February.
“I refused and they assigned some 10 village men to beat me up forcing me to fall in love with old man who would become my husband once I am through with the cut” Chepkerker said.
Her statement comes amid the imminent day of African child celebration today.
She was addressing media at Tangulbei boarding primary school on Wednesday, where she with her 35 age mates escaped for safety in May.
“I then escaped from home and ran away to live with my auntie in the neighboring Nasorot village, but my father followed me up again and threatened to kill me” The teenage girl said.
Chepkerker who is now in class two at Tangulbei boarding primary says she will never forgive her parents for what they did to her.
“In fact I don’t see myself going back home I better die here” she said amid sobs.
Thanks to Tangulbei Women Network, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that assisted, with security officers to rescue them.
Other girls Mercy Loriaba and Blessing Chesut from Nasorot and Kalabata villages respectively shared similar predicament.
“Our parents here in pokot take us girls as less human beings, they mistreat us by forcing us to get cirmcucised and later get married to men of their own choice” Chesut said.
Apart from being facing live threats she also said they were being imposed to harsh life of brewing and selling alcohols locally known as Changaa, Moratina and Busa, while the boys were being supported to go to school.
However, majority of the illiterate teenage girls aged 10 to 14 years in Tangulbei primary cannot speak either English or Kiswahili instead they could only communicate in pokot dialect, worst still they do not understand their ages.
The school head teacher Musa Terter assured the girls safety saying they were being handled like other pupils.
Terter however said despite their age he was forced to place all the girls in class one and two.
The girls hail from Karoiwo, Kabalabata, Kakaryakales, Kasitet, Kasokon, Bombo and Korolwo villages.
However, Tiaty East Assistant County Commissioner Steve Muonge also warned the culprits including their parents following up the girls to the school compound that they will be arrested and will face full force of the law.
Tangulbei women Network Chairlady Mary Kuket appeals for humanitarian help to keep the girls in school.
“They urgently need some more beds, school uniforms and mattresses so they could become comfortable in the boarding facility” said Kuket.
Last year November, the Star highlighted more than 2,000 girls from pokot community in Tiaty Sub-county, undergoing the female cut despite the government ban.
Reliable source further hinted that the traditional women circumcisers were paid at least two goats or sh3, 000 per girl adding that the rite of passage is normally observed in August and December.
However, the source said a man is forced to part with 50 goats, 30 cows and 10 camels to marry the circumcised young girl as his wife.