The East African country of Tanzania is known for its natural beauty and relative stability. But recently it’s become known for something quite macabre — the killings and mutilations of members of Tanzania’s albino population. They’re spurred by a lucrative trade in albino body parts for witchdoctor rituals. The World’s Jeb Sharp reports from Dar es Salaam.
There have been more than 50 murders of albinos in Tanzania since 2007. Publicity and protests led to a flurry of police work and some convictions. And for a while there was a lull in the attacks. But then they started up again in February, according to Vicky Ntetema of the advocacy organization Under the Same Sun.
“One person, a little boy of 4 was murdered. A man lost a hand, the hand was chopped off. A little girl who is now in hospital, her hand was chopped off and there was an attack with severe injuries when a woman of 33 years of age and a little girl of 12 months old were attacked.”
Ntetema says the attackers sell the body parts to witchdoctors who use them for rituals and potions. Ntetema is a former BBC journalist whose reporting on the albino killings won her awards but also death threats. The security at her office is the tightest I encounter anywhere in Tanzania during ten days of reporting. Ntetema wants Tanzania’s witch doctors put out of business.
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