A Somalian national living in Ireland was arrested Sept. 22 on suspicion of having performed a genital mutilation on a 2-year-old girl.
Investigators arrived at the scene on the morning of Sept. 23 to gather evidence related to the alleged crime, which reportedly took place in a South Dublin apartment where a woman lives with her two young daughters.
"This Somalian man was taken into custody on suspicion of mutilating a child," a source told Dublin Live.
The arrest is said to be the first made under the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act of 2012. If found guilty, the unidentified man faces a fine of over $11,000 and up to 14 years in prison.
Female genital mutilation (FGM), known also as female cutting, is a customary practice in many African countries. The procedure is nonmedical and oftentimes leads to serious complications and health problems, including life-threatening infections.
A neighbor told Dublin Live that he did not know the family very well.
"I don't know the family by name, I just say hello," he said. "The kids are not even 5 years, they are younger. I have been living on this road for one year now and they were living here before me."
He said he was surprised to see the police arrive next door, and that officers would not tell him what was going on.
"I was [shocked] to see the police car outside and that is why I asked them what had happened but they didn’t tell me," he said.
FGM is on the rise in Western countries as immigration from Africa increases. According to the Population Reference Bureau, more than 500,000 women and girls living in the U.S. are at risk of being subjected to the procedure or have been already, reports Newsweek.
"Not all of these women and girls have undergone the procedure," Population Reference Bureau analyst Mark Mather said. "We're just trying to come up with our best estimate of potential risk. Given that we've seen a lot of new immigrants, especially from Africa, it's become a more important issue here in the U.S. and in Europe as well."