-FGM advocate seeks refuge
By: G Bennie Bravo Johnson I
An anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) advocate in Western Liberia, particularly Behsao Town, Bomi County, is seeking refuge from the government of Liberia and the International Community over alleged fear and threat of death over her life by traditional leaders in the County
Ms. Tenneh S. Darzangbo, 30 years-old female advocate said that her life is currently in danger and under serious death threat from traditional leaders of the county due to her continue Anti-FGM campaign in the county and alarmed traditional practices by the local since the government banned the practice.
Speaking in an interview with a local journalist in the county while in hidden, over the weekend, May 2023 Ms. Darzangbo pointed out that she had been having town hall meetings, Community Engagement, and Outreach awareness with women and girls on the danger of FGM and the threat it poses to their lives as women.
“Western Liberia is a Muslim traditional county which compromise of Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount, and Bomi County. These counties uphold their traditional activities and practice in high esteem because we are Muslim. Behsao Town, and Bola Town where I am from, are the cultural centers in Bomi County.
However, because of the traditional activities in that area, local leaders often compromise rape, early marriage, and other domestic violence cases. “Also in that same place, we have FGM at a very high rate and nobody talks about it much because the majority are in support. But, because I have been speaking against those harmful and demonic practices, they are hunting me” she pointed out.
The young female advocate further stated, “I told the women and girls that I interacted with that FGM is dangerous because it causes increased risk of caesarean section, postpartum hemorrhage, recourse to episiotomy, difficult labor, obstetric tears or laceration, instrument delivery, prolonged labor, and extended maternal hospital stayed. I informed them that this traditional practice is demonic devilish, wicked, and evil therefore, they should join me to discourage it and campaign against it” she warned.
According to her, the practice also led to severe pain, excessive bleeding, swelling of the female genital tissues, fever, urinary problems, and wound healing problems, among others.
She urged parents to desist from sending their children to the Sande bush because it’s harmful and dangerous to the future of the children and their relationship.
“I am calling on the international community to come to my rescue or even our government because I am not safe. Since I started this advocacy many years ago, it was in 2021 and this 2023 that I have really been hunted with death. In 2021, I went into hiding and came back after the government ban the practice. I was excited but, later I notice that they were still practicing it and were not respecting the government order and so I too starts to campaign against it and raise the alarms that Bomi is still practicing FGM. Because of that, they are hunting me. They have attacked me severally but residents had rescue me” he noted. They are really hunting my life. I want the international community to come to my rescue before one day they find me dead” she tearfully narrated.
The volunteer FGM female human rights advocate lamented that the last time, they brought some women against her and they tried forcing her into the entire Sande bush thing but, she was safe and prevented by the locals.
“However, because I refuse to go in the bush to join them, They beat on me, scraped me naked, and dragged me. I was rescued by the citizens and residents in 2021. The same things in this 2023 they have brought against me again that brings me into hiding. I am tired, they are hunting me and so I am calling on the government and International Community to come to my security and take me outside this country for safe refuge. They have the threat to kill me for exposing them and educating the youth about the harmful and demonic practice of FGM” she noted.