Tanzanian police have arrested 38 women for carrying out illegal genital cutting on a group of girls.

The women were arrested Sunday as they performed a traditional dance around a house where police found 21 girls, aged from 3 to 15, who had recently undergone excision, AFP reported.

“As soon as I heard about it I sent the police around,” Herman Kapufi, mayor of Same district in northern Tanzania, told national television.

Kapufi said some of the girls were still bleeding while others had wounds that were healing.

Female circumcision, also referred to as female genital mutilation, is still performed in some parts of Tanzania despite having been outlawed in 1998. Studies estimate that about 15% of Tanzanian women and girls have undergone the procedure.

The practice, generally carried out with a knife or a razor blade without anaesthesia and in non-sterile conditions, attracts a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

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