In West Africa, two or more successive deaths of infants in the same family leads parents to believe the same soul is returning to them, only to die, be reborn and to die again. Such souls are often called "repeater children". To stop such a useless and vexatious cycle of rebirth and death, the parents sometimes mutilate the recently deceased child. This is to signal to it that it should go away and never come back. Sometimes frail or significantly ill children suspected of being repeater children are given preemptive mutililation to prevent it from dying. The practice has its basis in the belief that children who die have a major responsibility for their deaths.
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