Monday, January 26, 2009

Witchdoctors in Tanzania are defying a government ban intended to stop the killings of people with albinism for ritual medicine

A correspondent has seen at least 10 witchdoctors are working openly. It comes days after the latest murder of an albino man in Tanzania brought the national death toll to at least 40 since mid-2007. The killers reportedly sell albino body parts - including limbs, hair, skin and genitals - to witchdoctors. Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda said the government was revoking the licences of all traditional healers with immediate effect. "These witchdoctors are big liars," he said at a rally in the northern Shinyanga region. But Vicky Ntetema said it was business as usual for the traditional healers she visited just outside the biggest city Dar es Salaam. A spokesman for a traditional healers' association has criticized the ban. In the most recent case an albino man - named as Jonas Maduka - was killed in Sogoso village in the north-western Mwanza region. He was reportedly eating dinner at home when some people called and asked for his help. When he went outside he was strangled, before his assailants chopped off his leg and made away with the limb. The Tanzanian authorities have arrested more than 90 people in recent months - including four police officers - on suspicion of killing albinos or of trading in their body parts.

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