Surgical razors used for female genital mutilation
Surgical razors used for female genital mutilation

A female journalist has been forced into hiding in Liberia after an article she wrote on female genital mutilation (FGM) sparked deat threats against her.

An article by Mae Azango, a journalist for the Liberian daily FrontPage Africa and the website New Narratives, highlighted the dangers of FGM. She denounced the practice - often carried out in the name of culture and tradition - and said it affected two out of three girls in Liberia.

She told the international Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) watchdog that she had to leave her home receiving numerous threats about the article.

"They left messages and told people to tell me that they will catch me and cut me so that will make me shut up," Azango said. "I have not been sleeping in my house."

The article proved controversial in Liberia but was widely discussed on local radio, sparking a debate between traditionalists who defended the practice and activists against it.

Wade Williams, the editor of FrontPage Africa, said Azango had been repeatedly threatened. Other staff had been threatened too, he said.

"They said that for us putting our mouth into their business, we are to blame for whatever happens to us," Williams said.

Azango notified police and the deputy police director told the CPJ that an investigation would be launched.

CPJ Africa advocacy coordinator Mohamed Keita said: "Liberian police must immediately investigate these threats and ensure the safety of Mae Azango and other FrontPage Africa staff.

"The people behind these threats seem to be sure that they can act with impunity. Authorities must send a clear message that threats of violence are crimes, and that they will uphold the law" he added.