By Fatou Sillah
In a press release, the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP) revealed that MbaYassin Fatty, a circumciser, has been found guilty of circumcising children in Bakadagi-Mandinka, Central River Region of the Gambia, along with two mothers whose children were circumcised.
“The circumciser in Central River Region, MbaYassin Fatty, who was caught circumcising eight (8) children within the ages of 4 months to 1 year in the village of Bakadagi-Mandinka, Central River Region North of Niani District of the Gambia, has been found guilty with two of the mothers whose children were circumcised.
The mothers are Nano Jawla and Kaddijatou Jallow. The accused were found guilty and fined fifteen thousand dalasis each, and in default will serve one year in prison. The court process has three court appearances which were presided by Magistrate Kanjura B Sambou which started on July 26th, 9th August and 23rd August 2023 respectively. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) was represented by Banjugu Njie,” The statement discloses.
The statement also indicates that the circumciser broke the law by carrying out FGM, which is a harmful practice that is banned in the Gambia.
“It must be realized that the affected Circumciser broke the law banning FGM and the oath she made in 2013 not to circumcise any more. She was trained by GAMCOTRAP and was among the batch of circumcisers who declared to abandon the practice in 2013 among 30 circumcisers during the 4th Dropping of the Knife Ceremony in Wassu. She was given a bakery, and her son was trained to operate it as an Alternative Employment Opportunity (AEO) to abandon the knife,” The statement said.
GAMCOTRAP goes on to disclose that the woman reassured them that there had been no instances of circumcision in her community.
“She was given extra resources to address the challenges she was facing in her bakery. In a recent joint monitoring visit by UNFPA, NPC and Implementing partners, she informed the team that there was no circumcision in her community. GAMCOTRAP will continue to monitor closely all the regions and support the CBFs to continue engaging with their various cluster communities.”
GAMCOTRAP also asserts that this case is a demonstration of the Gambia’s commitment to enforcing the law against FGM.
“This is also a testament that the Gambia is committed to apply the law when the matter is brought before the courts, and we appreciate the efforts made by the Government of the Gambia and the MARIBANTANG CHAMBERS for ensuring that justice is done to protect the girl-child and end FGM in the Gambia,” the statement said.