Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Albinos killed in Tanzania for witchcraft body parts

Just when one would think that humans cannot sink any lower, there they go again.



DAR ES SALAAM (AFP) — Attackers murdered and mutilated a Tanzanian albino girl who became the latest victim of gangs who sell body parts as lucky charms to sorcerers.
Local councillor Joseph Manyara said that 10-year-old Esther Charles was killed on Sunday in the village of Shilela, in the western Shinyanga region.
She died just hours after President Jakaya Kikwete called for an intensified crackdown saying the killing of albinos has "stained the country's good image."
"It is utterly stupid for some people to believe that albinos have magic powers and their parts can make them rich," he told a rally organised by the Tanzania Albino Society (TAS).
"People should be provided with education to understand that it is only through hard working that they can prosper in life and not through selling albinos' body parts."
Another gang on Saturday cut off 28-year-old albino Mariam Stanford's hand, leaving the other hand dangling, western Kagera area police commander Selemani Miranzi said. The woman survived but has been admitted in hospital.


Discrimination against albinos is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa, but in Tanzania, it has taken a twist with victims, including children, killed or mutilated.
Witch doctors believe that albinos have magical powers to bring fortune.
At least 26 other albinos, mostly women and children, have been killed in different parts of the east African country over the past year.
In 2007, police reported several cases of people exhuming the bodies of infants to remove organs, in many cases the genitals and eyes, to make potions used in rituals.


According to press reports, albino skin is also in demand in the Democratic Republic of Congo, another troubled African nation where superstition is high.

Wow, those poor witches. I mean, it must be really difficult to work your spells when you have a shortage of "albino skin" and have run out of dead baby eyeballs and genitals for your key chains.