Posted on May 16, 2005

Boy, 9, Killed for his Skin

Times (London), May 14

Police in Tanzania arrested two men accused of killing a nine-year-old boy and selling his skin for 20,000 shillings (£10) to make magical charms, an officer said yesterday.

Martin Kalunga, 25, and Nico Benson, 31, were arrested in Lilwa village in southern Tanzania after neighbours overheard Benson accusing Kalunga of plotting with their buyer to skin him as well.

Suleiman Kova, police commander for the Mbeya region, said: “Martin confessed that they were both skinners and that they had skinned a boy in Mbozi six months ago. They then threw his body into the river Jianga.

“These cases are few but are very shocking.”

The victim’s identity has not been established nor his remains found, but Mr Kova said charges were expected.

Human skins are used by witch doctors, especially in southern Tanzania, to make charms or potions designed to make their users rich.