Saturday, January 24, 2009

Criminals with suspected links to witch doctors murdered a six-year-old albino girl in Burundi and made away with her severed limbs

"A group of bandits armed with rifles attacked the home of a six-year-old albino called Cizanye in Bugongo," 220 kilometres east of the capital Bujumbura, said local official Remi Sengiyumva. "These criminals decapitated her and then chopped off her arms and legs, which they took with them," he said. At least two albinos were murdered and mutilated in September 2008 in Burundi. Police had said they suspected criminals of hunting albinos to sell their organs and limbs to witch doctors in Tanzania who use them for lucky charms. "This little girl is the third albino victim of such barbaric crimes in our province since September. . . . We are doing everything we can to find the killers," Ruyigi province prosecutor Nicodeme Gahimbare said. The recent attacks against the small central African country had prompted the local authorities to set up a shelter where the albinos in Ruyigi province were invited to gather. In neighboring Tanzania, at least 27 albinos, mostly women and children, have been killed in different parts of the country over the past year alone. Albinism is a congenital lack of the melanin pigment in the skin, eyes and hair which protects from the sun's ultraviolets. Albinos are vulnerable to medical complications and social discrimination in Africa.

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