Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Albinos Possessing Wealth-Enhancing Charms?

This is what I heard over BBC after my 'terawih' prayer.

It brought back memories of my albino friend who was being left at her mother's place after just a couple of years marriage to a normal man.
Until today, after almost 10 years, she is still hoping that her husband will return to her.

No other man will want her, she said.

******

Police received a tip from Good Samaritans that there was a man selling an albino, was looking for customers from the mining sector believing that they have the money to pay.
Secret police posed as businessmen buying albino body parts in Mwanza, Tanzania, encountered the man who had been staying at River Side Hotel with his victim in Buzuruga ward, Nyamagana District at about 4pm on Sunday.
The incident took place at a guest house in Mwanza town.

Mwanza regional police commander, Mr Simon Siro, who confirmed the developments, said Kenyan national Mr Nathan Mutei, 28, attempted to sell his country man and longtime friend Mr Robinson Mkwama, 20, for Tanzanian Sh400 million (US$250,000).

Mr Siro said the two had arrived in Mwanza through illegal routes on August 12 from Kitale in Kenya's Rift Valley Province where Mr Mkwama was working as a hawker.
They had no travel documents when they were arrested.

Mr Mutei managed to lure Mr Mkwama - who had recently finished Form Four- that he would find him a bus conductor’s job in Mwanza through his contacts, assuring him that the job pays well.
RPC Siro refused to disclose the whereabouts of Mr Mkwama or whether he will also be charged for entering Tanzania illegally but he insisted that the police are keeping him in a safe place as their key witness in the case.

Tanzania has witnessed a spate of albino killings as their body parts are highly valued by witchdoctors for potions. Albino's hair, blood or limbs paves the way to riches. Members of the albino community in Tanzania are now living in a climate of fear. They are calling for police protection after more than 20 of them were killed in a series of ritualistic murders over the last year.
Since 2007, there have been an estimated 53 albino killings in Tanzania and 11 in Burundi. The killings have forced the government and some international organisations to intervene and take legal action against the killers.
An albino member of this family has been killed



The Albino Association of Tanzania says so far 173 people have been arrested, but there have been no prosecutions despite the fact that the Tanzanian President has made the protection of albinos a priority.

Albino child -  Tanzania has macabre trade in albino body parts
Albinos in Tanzania live in fear. Photo: REUTERS

May 6, 2010 - Seven new albino killings have been reported in Tanzania and Burundi amid signs that the lucrative trade in their body parts has not waned.

Under the Same Sun, a Vancouver-based NGO, put the toll of albino murders at 57 in Tanzania.

The group reported the killing on May 2 of a 28 year-old albino woman and her four year-old son in Cendajuru, on Burundi's border with Tanzania.

The two had their limbs and organs hacked off by a gang of nine armed men, and the boy's non-albino grandfather who intervened to stop them was killed on the spot, the group said, citing Burundi's police chief Deogratias Ntahompagaze.

Under the Same Sun noted another murder and four attempted murders of albinos in Tanzania between February and April.

"This brings the total in Tanzania to 57 murders and six attempted murders, where victims lost limbs. In Burundi the total is 14 murders. These are only the documented cases. The numbers are likely much higher - estimates suggesting well over a hundred in the last two years," the NGO said.

"Sadly justice has been far too slow in coming. Of the 63 reported cases in Tanzania, a mere two have been brought to conviction in the last two years. In sharp contrast, 12 of Burundi's 14 cases have led to convictions," the group said.

The wave of albino killings started in 2007, fuelled by the sale of their highly-prized body parts to witch doctors across the region who use them to concoct wealth-enhancing charms.

The Tanzanian police estimates at £50,000 "the value to witch doctors of a complete set of albino body parts, including all four limbs, genitals, ears, nose and tongue."

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 as well as social discrimination in Africa.

Of about 150,000 albinos in Tanzania, a country of some 35 million, some 8,000 are registered with the Tanzania Albino Society. Some families kill albino babies at birth to avoid discrimination, authorities say. 

40 comments:

RoseBelle said...

Killing to sell body parts for ritualistic purposes is just beyond belief for me. How terrifying for the Albinos. I hope the local police step up patrol and protection to protect these people.

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