News from the Joungle: Albinos face deadly threats in Tanzania’s body parts trade

witch doctor

Africa is truly a place of wonders, no place in the world produces such news as Africa does! From panic about penis shrinking to witch doctors to the hunt of albino body parts believed to have magical powers.

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania – Discrimination against albinos is a serious problem throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but recently in Tanzania it has taken a wicked twist: At least 19 albinos, including children, have been killed and mutilated in the past year, victims of what Tanzanian officials say is a growing criminal trade in albino body parts.

Many people in Tanzania – and across Africa, for that matter – believe albinos have magical powers. They stand out, often the lone white face in a black crowd, a result of a genetic condition that impairs skin pigmentation and strikes about one in 3,000 people here. Tanzanian officials say witch doctors are marketing albino skin, bones and hair as ingredients in potions that are promised to make people rich.

As the threats have increased, the Tanzanian government has mobilized to protect its albino population, whose members are often shunned as outcasts and die of skin cancer before they reach 30.

Police officers are drawing up lists of albinos in the country to better look after them. Officers are escorting albino children to school. Tanzania’s president even sponsored an albino woman for a seat in Parliament to show that “we are with them in this,” said Salvator Rweyemamu, a government spokesman.

Authorities are at a loss to explain the wave of killings. Police Commissioner Paul Chagonja said an influx of Nigerian movies, which play up witchcraft, might have something to do with it, along with rising food prices that were making people more desperate.

The killings have spread to Kenya, where an albino woman was hacked to death in late May, with her eyes, tongue and breasts gouged out. And in Congo, advocates for albinos have said that witch doctors are selling albino skin.

Remember that all people are equal and repeat it till you actually believe it!

~ by metadave on June 10, 2008.

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