Some 15 girls arrested by police with their good Samaritans-missionaries who rescued them from undergoing forced FGM in Baringo County on Sunday. /JOSEPH KANGOGO

I did not commit child-trafficking, Baringo pastor who rescued 16 girls from FGM says

I did not commit any child-trafficking offense man of God says after being accused of withholding 16 pokot girls who ran away from forceful Female Genital Mutilation(FGM) in Baringo County.

 

On Wednesday police arrested Pastor David Kimeu of African Inland Church (AIC) with his wife Judy Seguton alongside the teenage girls at Deaf and Blind rehabilitation centre in Kabarnet town.

 

“Children offenses are many so their case shall soon be established” Baringo North Criminal Investigation Officer Andolo Munga said adding that the two will be arraigned in court once they are through with the investigations.

 

The two told the media that they only offered their ‘good’ Samaritan service to rescue the girls from undergoing the female cut according to the rich pokot traditional culture.

 

“It is even impossible to accuse me of such serious crime like child trafficking when I brought the girls all the way over 200 kilometers away to such a government-owned rehabilitation center” Kimeu said.

 

He said the girl aged between 8 and 13 years were among 22 rescued in different dates between 2014 and 2017 at Kangiruru, Loyamoi, Embositit, Chepkirial, Akoret and Kongor villages.

 

He added that thousands of pokot girls were being hunted this August holiday to undergo FGM and later married off to earn the parents livestock as dowry.

 

Court ruling

 

The 16 girls were arraigned before Kabarnet law court on Wednesday, where the resident magistrate Viena Ambogo committed them to Chemolingot and Ghana children homes  back in Tiaty Sub-county.

 

The request was made by the county Coordinator for Children Services Otsom Omuse and Marigat Children officer Irene Maasai.

 

“The girls will receive care and protection in the above homes for the next one year pending their case determination” Ambogo said.

 

The case will be mentioned in the same court on 11 September while police have been ordered to arrest the parents and guardians of the girl to be charged with child neglect.

 

“The girls were among thousands of pokot girls being targeted for the cut this August holiday so I had to help them run away for safety so I chose Kabarnet deaf- blind being a public institution” Kimaru said.

 

According to him, after media expose about the stranded girls many well-wishers were calling in on humanitarian ground to support the girls get accessed to good health and education.

 

“In as much as I support the government move to assist the children but it should have courtesy with us instead of using child-trafficking as intimidation” Kimaru said calling upon the churches in Kenya to join him in prayers.

 

He said the girls  were just a fraction of the thousands of pokot girls being humiliated and forced to undergo traditional rituals before being married to old men in exchange of livestock for dowry in Tiaty Sub-county.

-Joseph Kangogo

Photo Credits: JOSEPH KANGOGO

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