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Anxiety in Eldoret after NGO ‘forcibly’ circumcises 30 boys

Wednesday April 22 2015

Sila Boit, Uasin Gishu County Executive for

Sila Boit, Uasin Gishu County Executive for Health (right) and Dr Evans Kiprotich, Director of Health Services in the county talks to boys from Kapsoya Estate in Eldoret Town at the Kapsoya Health Centre on April 22, 2015, where they were taken for check-up, after they were allegedly forcefully circumcised by an NGO. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By COPPERFIELD LAGAT
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Anxiety has gripped Eldoret in Uasin Gishu after an estimated 30 children were forcibly circumcised by a non-governmental organization based in Kisumu and which has a clinic in Eldoret.

The Impact Research Development Organisation is alleged to have performed the circumcision on the school-going children last week in various parts of Eldoret, when learners came home for the April holiday.

The mood was tense Wednesday evening at Kapsoya Estate as mothers wailed uncontrollably after realising that their sons, some as young as six years old, were circumcised by the organisation without their consent.

Lucy Ekwong said she had gone to town but did not find her two sons upon arriving home in the evening.

She would later find out that they were nursing pains at a Sudanese neighbour’s house.

“I had gone to town but when I came back in the evening, my two children, aged six and eight were in my neighbour’s house.

LURED WITH SWEETS

“The young one said they were offered sweets and taken to a clinic in Langas where many boys were circumcised,” the bitter mother said.

“I was shocked but immediately took up to caring for them. I later talked to a police officer who denied knowing of such an activity.

“I am so confused because the surgery itself is not according to the requirements of the Kalenjin traditions.

“My people in the village, upon learning of that, are accusing me of doing it on my sons,” said Ms Ekwong.

Some of the children were from the South Sudan Nuer community which does not perform circumcision on their boys.

The community regards the act of circumcision as a taboo and anyone conducting it is banished.

Only two children, who were from Islamic Center, were Kalenjins while close to 30 others were those from South Sudan.

A Sudanese national, Madol Anyief said: “Our Dinka Bor community does not perform circumcision. Anyone who is circumcised is banished and disowned.

“It is said these people were going around saying the government has directed circumcision but we have later been assured that the county has no such programme,” Anyief said, adding that she did not question much because she was a foreigner and feared for her life.

According to reports corroborated by the circumcised boys, sweets were used by people who were in cars to lure them.

MORE THAN A HUNDRED

One of them said they were more than a hundred only that some were hiding in their homes.

Uasin Gishu County’s Chief Officer for Health Mr Silas Boit said the revelation came during a normal supervision at Kapsoya Health Centre on Tuesday when they met a young boy who was walking in pain.

“We asked further and we were told that there was a forceful circumcision that the NGO had conducted. The boy had a urinal retention complication due to the surgery,” Mr Boit said.

The health officer said they went round the estate and got over 30 other boys in pain in their various homes.

Some who were suspected to be developing infections were referred to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital for medication.

Mr Boit said police and the county officials managed to arrest three officers from the NGO who were booked at Kapsoya Police Post.

Mr Boit said: “We were shocked after realising that the car in which the suspects had been arrested was released and was going around collecting the boys to ferry them to hospital,” Boit said.

He added that the OCS had promised to take the suspects to court.

Meanwhile, parents have been urged to keep a close watch on their children.