Tuesday, 28 April 2015 11:13

Albinos under Attack

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An albino child with his schoolmates  Photo: ALAMYOn 17 February 17 the mutilated remains of a 1 year old albino baby boy with were discovered by police in Geita, Tanzania. His arms and legs were hacked off. Two days earlier his homestead was attacked by five unidentified men with machetes. Three of them seized his father while the other two forced their way into the house where his mother Ester was preparing the evening meal. The child was abducted, killed and some of his remains dumped.
On 6 January 6, 2015, a 4 year old boy with albinism,
Karim Kassim, narrowly escaped abduction in a suburb of Mwanza Town. Two men on a motorcycle drove around his house repeatedly. The neighbors warned the family of the attempt of abduction, whereupon his mother locked him in the house. The assailants were chased away also with the help of the neighbors. The incident was reported to the police.

In February of 2014 a 17 year old woman with albinism, Masalu Masanja, was gang-raped by five men on her family farm in Gasuma in north-western Tanzania. She contracted 2 STDs and became pregnant from the rape. Government officials brought Masalu and where she was treated for the STDs and in November of 2014 gave birth to a baby girl without albinism. She does not know who the father of her child is and suffers from deep physical and psychological trauma as a result of the attack.
This unimaginable evil is driven by the belief (in some areas of the country) that the body parts of albinos possess magical powers capable of bringing riches if used in potions produced by local witchdoctors. Leaders in the albinism community believe that many of the attacks and killings remain undocumented and thus the numbers are likely much higher than records show. While Tanzanian police first started documenting them in 2006, it is widely known that these witchcraft related assaults against albinos have been going on since time beyond memory. Reports indicate that albino body parts are being exported outside of Tanzania. In one instance, a Tanzanian trader was caught traveling to the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the head of an infant albino in his possession. He told police that a businessman was going to pay him for the head according to its weight.

Picture: Courtesy of ALAMY from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/tanzania/11346273/Tanzania-bans-witchdoctors-after-albino-murders.html

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