DThe marriage of a 63-year-old traditional healer to a 12-year-old girl has sparked outrage in the West African country of Ghana. The wedding, which took place in the capital Accra, was broadcast live on television over the weekend. Ghanaians then protested on social media and called in the police, who took the underage bride into custody on Monday.

In Ghana – as in many other African countries – child marriage is officially prohibited. Nevertheless, they are common on the mainland. According to data from the United Nations children's fund Unicef, one in three young African women was married before the legal age of 18. Especially in poor rural areas, girls are forced into child marriage. However, in the city of Accra, a large city with a fairly modern society, child marriages are rare.

A twelve-year-old Ghanaian girl is now under police protection, police said Tuesday evening. The Ministry of Social Affairs was also invited. The 12-year-old's mother is also in police custody, it said. An investigation has been launched.

The Association of Traditional Healers defended the marriage on the grounds that a traditional healer who uses bones, animal skulls and herbs to seek help from ancestors must marry a virgin for cultural reasons; However, the ceremony does not mean that the man enters into a sexual relationship with the girl. Ghanaian human rights lawyer Francis Xavier Sosu said the traditional practice, which violates the constitution, can no longer be practiced and should be prosecuted.

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