A mad rush by a total of 750 girls including college students to have them circumcised has left many observers completely astounded in northern Liberia, reports said today.
The girls in the Mahn district of Sanniquellie in Nimba country have been flooding into the circumcision bush on their own volition to the disbelief of many residents of the area, reports said.
The unbelievable saga has completely obstructed the academic year as most of the girls are school-going teenagers.
Reports said the girls suddenly developed interest and abandoned whatever activities they were engage in to become circumcised.
The incomprehensible quest for circumcision has forced parents and guardians in the area and its surroundings to allow their children the opportunity to become circumcised, the New Dawn newspaper reported yesterday.
Local education authorities have said that enrolment in the second and final half of the academic school year has dropped considerably.
“This situation does not only affecting grade schools when the season for the bush comes in Nimba, but also the African Bible University and Nimba Community College,” a local education officer said.
Hence, the Nimba County Chief Education Officer Beatrice Kargar Saye Bonner has called on the leaders of the circumcision ceremonies in the region to set aside a specific period for young women and girls of school-going age so as not to disrupt their educational pursuit.
“It is not prudent for those of school-going ages to drop out of school. Traditional practices hinder their academic activities,” Ms Bonner noted.
“We are begging our people before incorporating these young women into the bush, let them attend school first,” she pleaded. But in order not to temper the circumcision authorities, Ms Bonner said she was not opposed to traditional practices, “but as a member of the sandi (circumcision school) society, I only have problem with the timing.”
“I am a staunch member of the sandi society. Therefore, I never disrespect or go against my tradition, but there is a need for those females to get some formal education for tomorrow,” Ms Bonner told the New Dawn newspaper.
It can be recalled that a female Liberian journalist went into hiding last month after she allegedly received death threats for writing an article on the female circumcision.
Female cutting is an age-old practice in Liberia like in many countries in the third world, but it is not likely to be abandoned in the country in spite of desperate attempts by rights groups to convince the practitioners on the negative aspects of the activity.