Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Tanzania Albino Society (TAS) has called for the men found guilty of killing an albino boy to be hanged publicly as a warning to others

A court sentenced them to death for attacking the boy and severing his legs for use in witchdoctors' potions. There are more than 100 people on death row, but no-one has been executed in more than 15 years. But TAS chairman Ernest Kimaya urged the president to endorse the sentence. Kimaya told Tanzania's Citizen newspaper that a public execution would also "show that the government is serious in its war on albino killers". In the past two years, 53 albino people have been murdered in Tanzania. Albino people, who lack pigment in their skin and appear pale, are killed because potions made from their body parts are believed to bring good luck and wealth. The Tanzanian government has publicly stated its desire to end the killings. Officials banned witchdoctors from practising, however many have continued to work. Many of Tanzania's estimated 17,000 albino people are now living in fear, especially in villages in the north-west where the majority of the murders have occurred. The case in Kahama was the first conviction in Tanzania for an albino killing. There is also a fear of reprisal killings as witchdoctors and their clients wield a lot of power in their communities. Witchdoctors in Tanzania and other parts of East Africa have made tens of thousands of dollars from selling potions and other items made from the bones, hair, skin and genitals of dead albino people. They pay a lot of money for body parts. In July 2009 a court in neighbouring Burundi sentenced one person to life in prison and eight others to jail for the murder of albino people whose remains were sold in Tanzania.


Journey to Tanzania: Reporter Exposes Epidemic of Albino Killings

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