Gambia – New Legislation on FGM Applied in Gambian Court
Date: March 21, 2016
New Legislation on FGM Applied in Gambian Court
History has been made at the Banjul Magistrate court when reference was made to the recently legislated FGM law inserted in the Women’s Act 2015 in a case involving the death of five month old Aminata Drammeh of Kiang Sankandi, which was as a result of the practice of FGM inflicted on her on the 27th February 2016. The Case “IGP Versus Sankaru Darbo and Saffiatou Darbo” was heard on the 10th March 2016 at 2:30 PM. The first accused is Sunkaru Darbo, the grandmother who is suspected to have taken baby Aminata to a circumciser called Isatou Camara to cut her while her mother, Saffiatou Darbo, second accused, was away.
Sunkaru Darbo 60 year old grandmother and mother, Saffiatou Darbo denied charges against them on four different counts including felony, murder, and conspiracy. The accused were denied bail. The court ordered for accused to be kept in police custody until their next appearance on the 15th March 2016 at midday. Meanwhile the Prosecution said in court that the investigation continues as the third suspect, Isatou Camara, the circumciser is at large.
It is less than three months ago when The Gambia legislated a law that criminalizes and prohibits FGM. The death of an innocent five month old baby girl subjected to FGM on the 27th February 2016 who died in Sankandi village, Kiang West is the first case in which the Banjul Magistrate Court applied the FGM law inserted in the Women’s Act 2016.
Background to the Case
Aminata Drammeh was only 5 months old when her grandmother Sunkaru Darbo is accused of taking her to a circumciser called Isatou Camara to subject her to Female Genital Mutilation. In a conversation with her mother Saffiatou Darbo, second accused, she narrated her story “I went to the garden and left my baby with the nanny (bambanoo). I don’t know who cut her.” Upon reflection she continued “She was almost healed, but on Monday (10 days) after she was cut, the blood burst and she bled heavily at the end I could not figure out where the blood was coming from.. I ran to get help from the health worker but could not find the health worker and I could not stop the bleeding.” After pausing for a moment she continued “, ‘nying wo kanyi, jii bondingho leti…’ (oh there is nothing I can do to get my baby back) shaking her head.
This case will set precedence about the application of the law on FGM in the Gambia. It is unfortunate that women have to be taken to court but also it expresses the importance and seriousness of the State in taking legal stand in the protection of children from FGM.
Report by GAMCOTRAP
10th March 2016