Sapa-AFP, November 12, 2008
A man has been arrested in southern Tanzania on suspicion of attempting to sell his albino wife to Congolese traders, police said on Wednesday.
Rukwa regional police commander Isunto Mantage said John Joseph was about to sell his wife Janet for 3,6-million shillings (around R35 000) when caught by a police sting operation.
Mantage said the man was caught “after the police set a trap, but the two Congolese traders escaped”.
The woman told the police she was not aware of her husband’s plot but he confessed to having struck a deal with the Congolese.
In a spate of gruesome incidents over the past few months, albinos have been kidnapped, killed and dismembered for witch doctors who use their limbs and organs to make lucky charms.
The latest victim was a 10-year-old girl, who was murdered and mutilated late last month.
At least 27 albinos, mostly women and children, have been killed in different parts of the east African country over the past year alone.
“It is utterly stupid for some people to believe that albinos have magic powers and their parts can make them rich,” Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete told a recent rally by the Tanzania Albino Society (TAS).
“People should be provided with education to understand that it is only through hard working that they can prosper in life and not through selling albinos’ body parts.”
On Tuesday, two suspects appeared before a resident magistrate’s court in Tanzania’s central region of Singida for conspiring to kill a six-year-old albino girl.
Of about 150 000 albinos in the country of 35 million according to its 2002 census, 8,000 are registered with the TAS. Some families kill albino babies upon birth, authorities say.