Friday, November 14, 2008

Police in southwestern Tanzania say they have arrested a man accused of attempting to sell his albino wife

The man was allegedly planning to sell his wife to two Congolese businessmen for around $3,000. Albinos have been living in fear in Tanzania after a series of killings due to a belief their body parts can make magic potions more effective. At least 27 people with albinism have been killed since March 2008, including a seven-month old baby. President Jakaya Kikwete ordered a police crackdown on those involved in the killings, and 170 witchdoctors have since been arrested. Investigations suggest that some police are being "bought off" in order to look away when such crimes are committed. Rukwa regional police commander Isunto Damian Mantage said the fisherman was arrested following a tip-off from an informer. His wife was not aware that he was planning to sell her off, police say. Mr Mantage says the wife's angry parents have decided to take back their daughter. The businessmen managed to escape arrest, and are suspected to have fled back to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The police have asked Interpol to help track them down. The recent attacks on albinos have been linked to witchdoctors who are peddling the belief that potions made from an albino's legs, hair, hands, and blood can make a person rich. Albinism affects one in 20,000 people worldwide, but in Tanzania the prevalence appears to be much higher.

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