Cairo: The death of a girl due to female circumcision this week, the first to be reported in two years, has sparked fears in Egypt that the banned practice is more rife than believed.

Egypt's Chief Prosecutor Abdul Meguid on Thursday ordered physician Fathiya Ahmad arrested and to stand trial at the Criminal Court for performing the banned procedure on 13-year-old Nermeen Al Hadad, who died later of complications from the surgery. The parents of the girl in the Nile Delta province of Menufya buried her without getting a permit from the local authorities.

Promote awareness

Minister of Family and Population, Mushira Khattab had reported the case to the Chief Prosecutor after a hotline service, set up to help children in distress, had received a tip off about the incident. "It all started when the Childcare Hotline was informed that the girl had died after the circumcision operation. Her family buried her without getting a permit or a death certificate to hide the crime," the minister said in a statement on Thursday .

"This case and the collusion of the girl's family with the doctor shows that there is still more needed to be done in order to promote public awareness about this phenomenon," said Shukri Saleh, a human rights activist.

Egypt banned the centuries-old practice in 2008.