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Thursday, 12 March 2015

Assault on the devil's empire: Witchdoctors rounded up in TZ crackdown

Witchdoctors rounded up in TZ crackdown

Publish Date: Mar 13, 2015
Witchdoctors rounded up in TZ crackdown
Albinism, a hereditary genetic condition, affects one Tanzanian in 1,400

newvision
 






DAR ES SALAAM - Over 200 people have been arrested in Tanzania as part of a nationwide crackdown on witchdoctors linked to a wave of albino attacks and murders, police has said.



Police said they had arrested 225 unlicenced traditional healers and soothsayers during a special operation carried out in several parts of the east African country and due to be extended to all 30 regions.


"Some of those arrested were found in possession of items like lizard skin, warthog teeth, ostrich eggs, monkey tails, bird claws, mule tails and lion skin," police spokesperson Advera Bulimba said in a statement.


Bulimba said the police campaign would target the entire network of gangsters, traders and witchdoctors, adding that 97 of those detained had already appeared in court.


The statement also appealed to religious leaders, traditional elders, politicians and journalists "to continue the awareness campaign against superstitious beliefs that are holding back the development of our country."


The announcement comes after President Jakaya Kikwete said the ongoing attacks against people with albinism, whose body parts are used for witchcraft, were "disgusting and a big embarrassment for the nation".


In the most recent reported attack, a six-year-old albino boy's hand was hacked off with a machete and his mother assaulted as she tried to protect him.


On Tuesday police said seven suspects had been arrested in connection with that attack, which left the boy and his mother hospitalised.


Last week a Tanzanian court sentenced four people to death for the murder of an albino woman whose legs and right hand were hacked off with an axe and machete.


The killers who were convicted also included the husband of the murdered woman.


President Kikwete met with albino activists last week, promising to do more to stop the wave of violence.


"The government has long tried to do everything possible to stop the killings, we are very serious with this," the president said in a statement.


"But we still need to enhance our efforts to bring to an end these killings, which are disgusting and a big embarrassment to the nation."


At least 76 albinos have been murdered since 2000 with their dismembered body parts selling for around $600 (about 1.8 million Ugandan shillings) and entire bodies fetching $75,000 (about 220 million Ugandan shillings), according to United Nations experts.


A further 34 albinos have survived having parts of their bodies hacked off while still alive and grave robbers have dug up at least 15 more, seeking buried limbs and bodies.


Albinism is a hereditary genetic condition which causes a total absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes. It affects one Tanzanian in 1,400, often as a result of inbreeding, experts say.

AFP

Albino killers sentenced to death in Tanzania
 

Publish Date: Mar 06, 2015
Albino killers sentenced to death in Tanzania
Albinism, a hereditary genetic condition, affects one Tanzanian in 1,400
 
ARUSHA - A court in Tanzania has sentenced four people to death for the murder of an albino woman who was killed so her hacked-off limbs could be used in magic, officials said Friday.





The sentencing comes after Tanzania' President Jakaya Kikwete blasted the wave of killings of albinos, whose body parts are used for witchcraft, as a "disgusting and big embarrassment for the nation".


The killers who were convicted include Charles Nassoro, the husband of the murdered woman. Court officials in Mwanza, northwest Tanzania, said the victim had her legs and right hand hacked off with an axe and machete after being attacked while eating dinner in her village.


"The prosecution has proved the case beyond reasonable doubt," High Court judge Joaquine Demello told state radio after Thursday's verdict.


She also told the Citizen newspaper the sentence had also taken into account "the escalating killing of people with albinism in the country".


According to a UN expert, attacks on people with albinism have claimed the lives of at least 75 people since 2000, and that albino body parts sell for around $600, with an entire corpse fetching $75,000.


Despite the handing down of the death penalty, Tanzania has had a de facto moratorium on capital punishment and carried out its last execution, by hanging, in 1994. There are currently 17 people on death row in the country for killing albinos.


Earlier this week Tanzania's president met with albino rights activists, promising firm action to stop the murders.


"The government has long tried to do everything possible to stop the killings, we are very serious with this. But we still need to enhance our efforts to bring to an end these killings, which are disgusting and a big embarrassment to the nation," Kikwete said in a statement.


Albinism is a hereditary genetic condition which causes a total absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes. It affects one Tanzanian in 1,400, often as a result of inbreeding, experts say. In the West, it affects just one person in 20,000.

AFP

Tanzania albino boy loses hand in latest attack
 

Publish Date: Mar 09, 2015
Tanzania albino boy loses hand in latest attack
The incedent was the latest in a string of attacks in Tanzania against the minority. AFP Photo



 
 
 
A six-year-old albino boy has had his right hand hacked off in the latest of a string of attacks in Tanzania against the minority, police said Sunday.




The boy, Baraka Cosmas, was sleeping at home with his mother in the village of Kipenda, in Tanzania's south-western Rukwa region, when a gang of assailants stormed in late Saturday, regional police commander Jacob Mruanda said.

"The gangsters got hold of the victim's mother, Prisca Shaaban, and beat her severely after she refused to hand over the boy," Mruanda said.

"The assailants later used machetes to cut off the boy's right palm and walked out," he added, saying the boy and his mother were being treated in hospital.

The latest assault comes days after Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete blasted the wave of killings and attacks against albinos, whose body parts are used for witchcraft, as a "disgusting and big embarrassment for the nation".

During the week a court in the northwest of the country also sentenced four people to death for the murder of an albino woman.

According to a UN expert, attacks on people with albinism have claimed the lives of at least 75 since 2000, and that albino body parts sell for around $600, with an entire corpse fetching $75,000.

Albinism is a hereditary genetic condition which causes a total absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes. It affects one Tanzanian in 1,400, often as a result of inbreeding, experts say.