Number of attacks on Albinos in Tanzania on the rise - video

Unicef said that 74 people with albinism have been killed since 2000

Jack Simpson
Friday 17 April 2015 13:48
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Albinos are often the victims of discrimination in Tanzania (TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)
Albinos are often the victims of discrimination in Tanzania (TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

The number of albinos being killed in Tanzania is on the rise as witch doctors continue to make money from trading their body parts.

According to United Nation's Children's Fund, at least 74 people with albinism, including children, have been murdered since 2000, with many more having limbs hacked off as a result of vicious attacks on them by the witch doctors who believe their body parts harness magical powers.

She said that these doctors make people believe that possessing the arms, legs and sometimes whole bodies of albinos will bring wealth and success to the owners, who in turn buy them for large sums of money.

“These body parts are being sold for a lot of money, $600 for just a small piece of a body part and up to $75,000 (£50,000) for a whole body,” she said, “you can only imagine how much money these witch doctors are making.”

Albinism is a condition that affects the production of melanin in a person, causing skin and hair to appear white in colour.

It affects approximately one in 1,400 people in Tanzania, a number that is markedly higher than the one in 20,000 albinos found in the West.

Researchers believe this could be down to inbreeding in remote parts of the country.

School's for the blind have become rare sanctuaries for young people with albinism (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)

Albinos are often stigmatised in Tanzanian society and labelled as “ghost people” by people who are uneducated about the condition.

As a result, families are sometimes told to kill their children at birth, while others are victimised and “hunted” for their body parts.

In reaction to the growing numbers of attacks, authorities in Tanzania and southern Africa are taking a tougher stance against those that are involved in the trade of albino body parts.

In January this year, Tanzania banned witch doctors altogether in a bid to stem the growth in killing, and have already arrested nearly 200 people involved.

In Malawi last month, one of Tanzania’s neighbouring countries, police were instructed to shoot anyone attacking albinos.

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