By TAMBA JEAN-MATTHEW in DakarPosted Thursday, May 3 2012 at 10:52
A mad rush by hundreds of girls to get circumcised has left observers astounded in northern Liberia, reports said.
About 750 girls, including college students in the Mahn District of Sanniquellie in Nimba Country, have gone into the bush for circumcision, apparently on their own volition, to the disbelief of many area residents..
This has completely disrupted 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 engaged in to be circumcised.
The New Dawn newspaper reported on Wednesday that some parents and guardians were taken unawares by this sudden desire by the girls to get the cut.
The newspaper quoted local education authorities complaining that enrolment in the second and final half of the school year had dropped considerably.
“This situation does not only affect grade schools when the season for the ‘bush’ comes in Nimba, but also the African Bible University and Nimba Community College,” said one education officer.
The situation has compelled Nimba County Chief Education Officer Beatrice Kargar Saye Bonner to call on the organisers of the circumcision ceremonies to set aside specific periods for the activity so as not to disrupt their education programmes.
“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.
“I am not opposed to traditional practices, my only problem is with the timing. There is need for those females to get some formal education for tomorrow,” Ms Bonner told the New Dawn.
Female cutting is widely practised in Liberia in spite of desperate attempts by rights groups to convince the practitioners otherwise.