At least 21 boys have died in South Africa while undergoing circumcision in the bi-annual ceremony which began in November, authorities have said.
Seventeen young boys died in Eastern Cape province while two others died in the North West and Western Cape, privately-owned EWN news site reports.
The deaths happened despite a crackdown on illegal initiation schools which have resulted in deaths in the past.
The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) blamed the government for the deaths, saying there was “a lack of support and resources in programmes aimed at reducing the number of casualties”.
Contralesa spokesperson Xolile Ndevu said the government should declare initiation-related deaths “a national disaster”.
Eastern Cape co-operative governance and traditional affairs spokesperson Mamkeli Ngam said families should do more to curb the deaths.
“It is not government’s responsibility to ensure that people go to the bush, it’s a family issue, a parental issue and a community issue working hand-in-hand with traditional leaders,” he said.
An investigation has been launched into circumstances leading to the deaths, Contralesa officials said.
In the last 10 years there have been more than 1,000 penile amputations, Xinhua news agency reports.
First Published 18.12.18: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-africa-46590730
Help Keep The Faith deliver hope to global Christians during the coronavirus period
For 15 years, Keep The Faith's team of volunteers have provided our Christian journalism for free, and kept it open for everyone.
The coronavirus disease is affecting all global communities. Christians and people of faith all over the world are looking to our faith for answers during these troubling times. As more people fall ill with Covid-19 or go into self-quarantine over the next few days, we expect our visitors to grow even further.
Your gifts are so important to our future, and any donation will help. 100% of your gifts will be used to continue providing our services for free to help those who are in need of God's Word during these difficult times.
So please, continue to support us and everyone looking for hope. Partner with us in this journey together.