MONROVIA – In response to an article about FGM in Liberia, published last Thursday in the local daily FrontPage Africa, the Liberian journalist Mae Azango received death threats. According to Africa Review, Pulitzer-Center grantee Azango has now gone into hiding. “They left messages and told people to tell me that they will catch me and cut me so that will make me shut up”, fears Azango.
In her article she reports about FGM in rural Liberia, and the devastating, and sometimes deadly, effects it can produce. Furthermore two of three girls are victims of FGM in certain parts of the country, she reports.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has now called for Liberian police to ensure safety for Azango and other FrontPage Africa staff. “Authorities must send a clear message that threats of violence are crimes”, confirms CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita.
Ten out of Liberia´s 16 tribes practice FGM, accounting for up to 85 percent of the country´s population. Unsanitary conditions cause infections, tetanus and HIV transmissions.”The people behind these threats seem to be secure that they can act with impunity”, says Keita. It is important now, he stresses, to uphold the law and ensure prosecution.