This is a story of a 10-year-old girl who bled to death after undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) in Somalia in the most high-profile case ever confirmed in the country.
Deeqa Dahir Nuur, from the Olol village in Galmudug state, passed away from severe bleeding after undergoing the procedure on the 14 July. The operation severed a vein and her family were still unable to stem the haemorrhaging two days later.
The was taken to Dhusmareb hospital where she bled to death, activist Hawa Aden Mohamed of the Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development told The Independent.
The Galmudug state minister for women’s affairs visited the family in hospital to offer condolences and explain the risk of death in FGM operations.
The woman who performed the operation has reportedly not been arrested, with no law currently in place that would ensure she would be punished for the act.
“Sadly the case may just end at that – a mere statistic,” Ms Mohamed added. “This is just one among many cases happening on a daily basis across Somalia.”
But it marks the most high profile FGM death confirmed in Somalia, where 98 per cent of women and girls are cut, the highest percentage anywhere in the world.
Activists hope the publicity surrounding Deeqa’s death may help debunk myths in Somalia that FGM is safe and bring attention to their commitment to a zero-tolerance policy to FGM.
Nikolai Botev, Somalia representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) decried the suffering that continues to hound girls and women subjected to FGM, saying: “We are extremely saddened by the death of Deeqa Dahir Nuur.
“FGM is also a factor in the very high maternal mortality that Somalia continues to experience. It is thus not just a human rights issue but also a human lives issue. Hence our commitment to zero tolerance of FGM.”
It comes as the first national gathering on FGM opened in the Somali capital Mogadishu, attended by Somali leaders and influencers reflecting the success and challenges to end the procedure.
Somali Deputy Minister of Health Mohamed Said Abdilah was reported to have said: “It is a huge health issue because of maternal mortality, child mortality… FGM is a huge priority for us.”