Tanzanian police in the Tarime/Rorya Special Zone and their Kenyan counterparts have agreed to cooperate in the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM).
Joint operations will be conducted in Tarime District, Mara Region, and five districts of Nyanza Province in Kenya.
Tarime/Rorya Special Police Zone commander Andrew Satta said yesterday they had decided to work together with their colleagues in the neighbouring country after realising that some Kenyans were crossing the border to undertake FGM in Tanzania and some Tanzanians were crossing to Kenya to undergo the same ritual.
He said they realised that they won't succeed in the fight against FGM on one side, while it was a cross-border issue that needed joint efforts from both sides to stop it.
Mr Satta said elders from 13 clans of Kurya Tribe in Tarime District assured the police that this year no girl would undergo FGM. Instead, they agreed to adopt an alternative ritual of applying flour on their foreheads to signify the ritual of passage to another age group.
Police will not ban ceremonies, but keep a close eye to ensure there was no way to revert to FGM. "We are going to take stern legal measures against people, who go against what the elders promised us," he said.
By Beldina Nyakeke