Gambia – Gambian president Yahya Jammeh has said that murder charges should be pressed against the mother and grandmother of a 5-month-old child who reportedly died after undergoing the practice of female genital mutilation. Yahya Jammeh was speaking at the rescheduled state opening of Gambia’s parliament last Thursday in Banjul.

According to him, “I gave a strict warning when I banned FGM. Legislation will be enforced to the letter. Guess what, I child of about eight months was smuggled and she was circumcised and she died. I think you all know where it happened. I’m surprised. Instead of the perpetrators being charged for murder, they are charged with only FGM. And in the FGM law, I made sure that if somebody dies in the process, the perpetrators should be charged with murder. So the judiciary, I do not want to interfere but that is not a bailable offence. They killed a child.”

Yahya who called himself an elephant said the FGM legislation will be amended to also hold village husbands and village heads responsible in an event where FGM is practised.

“We will amend the law to include the head of the village and husbands. These must be held responsible because a husband can stop his wife from taking their daughter through the practice. You want to oppose the government. Well if you are a monkey and want to knock heads with an elephant, you know who is going to suffer. We will enforce the law to the letter,” he said.

Meanwhile, the two suspects, Sunkaru Darboe and Saffiatou Darboe were arraigned before principal magistrate Omar Cham at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court on March 10, charged with conspiracy to commit felony, prohibition of female circumcision, and accomplices to female circumcision.

The bill of indictment on count one stated that on 27 February 2016, at Sankandi village in Kiang West and diverse places in The Gambia, they conspired and took one Aminata Drammeh, a five-month-old baby to one Isatou Camara, for the purposes of conducting Female Genital Mutilation, which later resulted in her death.

Count two stated that Sunkaru Darboe, on 27 February 2016 at Sankandi village in Kiang West and diverse places in The Gambia, she took her five-month-old granddaughter, Aminata Drammeh, to be circumcised by one Isatou Camara, resulting in her death.

Count three indicated that Sunkaru Darboe, on 27 February 2016 at Sankandi Village in Kiang West and diverse places in The Gambia, she requested, incited and promoted female circumcision by taking her granddaughter, Aminata Drammeh, to Isatou Camara to be circumcised, which resulted in the child’s death.

Count four read that Saffiatou Darboe, on 27 February 2016 at Sankandi village in Kiang West and diverse places in The Gambia, she knew female circumcision was taking place and she failed to inform the authorities concerned about it.

They denied any wrongdoing.

Join The Conversation