By Suleiman Hassan
When Khadija Abdullahi Ibrahim was married off to a man as old as her father one year ago, little did she know that she was becoming the better half of a beast.
A resident of Shimbir Fatuma Ward in Mandera South Sub-County, Khadija’s hand was given to a man who would one year down the line roast her alive. Early marriages is still widely practiced among herders in North Eastern region although the practice is vanishing among urban dwellers.
Lying on a small hospital bed in Mandera County referral hospital, the girl who looks barely 16 years but is 20 according to hospital records is nursing not only severe burns on the entire upper part of her body but also secondary infection and anaemia after she was kept at home for four months after her husband burnt her down.
He is said to have pushed and fell her into a burning firewood after a small domestic quarrel with Medics at the hospital saying she suffered 2nd -3rd degree burns on 24% of her body.
“She has developed contractures of the arms and legs (joints can’t stretch or bend). She also has wounds which have started developing secondary infection since she has been kept under unclean circumstances.” Adds a Medic at the hospital who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Family members who spoke to Nepjournal confirmed that the incident happened in January this year but it was not clear why they took this decision although such incidences are normally resolved at family level though the traditional conflict resolution mechanism locally known as ‘maslaha’.
The system is sometimes abused in favor of the culprit to keep him away from the legal system.
After word went round of the girls predicament, concerted efforts from the National women’s movement ‘Maendeleo ya wanake’ Mandera County branch led by Chairlady Mrs. Ubah Abdi Gedi in collaboration with relevant county government departments, Member of County Assembly for Shimbir Fatuma ward Mr. Wario succeeded in bringing the girl to hospital for medication.
Doctors performed debridementation (a surgical procedure for removing dead or infected tissues) three days ago.
Khadija is being assisted by her aging mother.
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