Posts filed under ‘World News’

Albinos hunted for body parts in Africa

Life in Sub-Saharan Africa isn’t easy on anyone especially if you have albinism. In Africa 1 in 3,000 people have albinism, which is the congenital absence of pigmentation in the eyes, skin and hair. People with this condition are predisposed to severe sun burns and often die of skin cancer before their 30th birthday. However for years the weather has been the least of their problems, many in Sub-Saharan Africa believe that people with this condition have magical powers making them a target. Those with albinism are being hunting for their limbs,bones,blood and hair which are then sold on the black market by witch doctors for the purposes of creating potions that are promised to make people rich. It is now common practice to pile rocks on the graves of those with albinism to deter grave robbers.

On the black market a limb of an albino can bring anywhere from $500 to $2000 (USD) in a country where the per capita income is only $450 a year this business could make one a macabre fortune. The attacks are often carried out with machetes left over from wars, only two people were known to have survived these gruesome attacks in Tanzania.

This year in Tanzania alone 19 albinos, including young children have been mutilated or killed, increasing violence has caused thousands of albinos living in the area to live in fear. This violence has prompted the Tanzanian government to mobilize in order to protect their albino population. Police officers are making a list of albinos in every corner of the country in order to better look after them, they have even begun escorting children to school. Many have fled towns and cities and made their homes on the remote island of Ukerewe where they can live in relative safety. This island is believed to have the highest concentration of albinos, or zeru as they are called in Africa, in the world. At least 10,000 people have been displaced or have had to go into hiding since the killings started. 54 people in Tanzania have been murdered since 2007, and perhaps dozens more have been injured, the violence continues to increase.

September 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm Leave a comment


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