Tanzania Bans Witchdoctors After Albino Murders

Aislinn Laing, Telegraph, January 14, 2015

Tanzania has announced a ban on witchdoctors who have been targeting the country’s large albino population in the mistaken belief their body parts can bring wealth, luck and power.

The country’s home affairs minister called for communities to tip-off investigators in a new taskforce set up to tackle the problem, which has resulted in at least 74 murders since 2000 and 58 brutal attacks in which people have lost limbs and been left permanently scarred.

The task force will in the next two weeks start working in areas where attacks have been most prevalent, minister Matias Chikawe said.

“We want to address the issue of abduction and killings of people with albinism once and for all by banning the activities of these unscrupulous people, who cheat others by telling them that they can get rich quickly or become members of parliament,” he said.

“People should also be repeatedly told that the only way of becoming rich is through hard work and not possessing charms.”

In the West, an estimated one in 20,000 people have some form of albinism, which is caused by a hereditary recessive gene resulting in a lack of melanin pigmentation.

But in Tanzania, and throughout East Africa, around one in 1,400 has the condition because, experts believe, of higher levels of inbreeding in remote communities.

Severin Edwards, from the Tanzanian Albino Society which will work with the government on the latest crackdown, said the country’s 35,000-strong albino population are living in fear because of a renewed appetite for their body parts, which can fetch up to £50,000.

In August last year, there were five assaults in just two weeks, including a 15-year-old girl whose arm was chopped off by men with machetes who later told police they had been offered £400 for it.

On New Year’s Eve, a four-year-old albino girl disappeared from her home in the northern Mwanza region. A total of 15 people, including the girl’s father and uncles, were arrested but she has still not been found.

Grave robberies have become such a problem that families of albinos now bury them in unmarked plots.

The attacks have brought international scrutiny from the United Nations and foreign NGOs, and prompted the government to move albino children to special schools in a bid to keep them safe.

“Children are sent to camps where they live like refugees, there are survivors who have lost limbs but can’t work or even go to the toilet,” Mr Edwards said.

“In the rural areas, if there is a person with albinism living in a family, everyone is frightened. There have been cases where relatives are killed trying to protect them.”

He said the government plan was a “good start” which he hoped would lead to “tangible” action, but added that harnessing political will had not been easy in a country where, according to a 2010 US survey, 93 per cent of people believe in witchcraft.

“The posters are still up in all the towns and cities, promising to make you more rich and intelligent,” he said. “It’s connected to big businessmen, in the fishing and mining industry, and to politicians, who want more power. It’s why there’s been no serious commitment until now.”

He linked the rise in attacks in 2009 and at present to general elections held in 2010 and this year. “Politicians who want to keep power or win it either consult a witchdoctor or pay someone to consult for them,” he said.

Witchdoctors do not dirty their own hands, he conceded, but in every documented attack, they are somehow involved.

“In every case that we have followed up, especially where suspects have cooperated, there’s a witchdoctor behind it. They either tell their customer to obtain the parts for them or they order someone else to get them,” he said.

Traditional medicine is widespread across Africa, but the majority who practise it vehemently reject associations with those who use body parts.

Phephisile Maseko, from the South Africa-based Traditional Healers’ Organisation, said witches had no place in traditional medicine and she feared reputable Tanzanian practitioners would be tarred with the same brush.

“The use of human tissue has no place in traditional medicine and cannot heal anything,” she said. “Witchdoctors are criminals and killers, and have nothing to do with us.”

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  • anony

    The very thought of this kind of “witch-craft” is repulsive and can only come from a savage mind.

    • Raymond Kidwell

      I don’t see what is wrong with witchcraft. I don’t see how a human body part can be used in real witchcraft though. Maybe they should get a monkey’s paw.

  • MekongDelta69

    Did this happen in Tanzania or DIE-Troit?

    (Hey – don’t blame me! I didn’t bother wasting my time reading the article!)

    • LexiconD1

      Google Albinoism in Africa and behold what becomes of them. You’ll be astonished by how pathetically stupid, and morally bankrupt, blacks in Africa really are. Boy soldiers got nothing on their magically delicious, chalk full of superpowers, Albinos.

  • Caucasoid88

    Do they think they’re white people or something?

    • Raymond Kidwell

      I wear an asian scrotum around my neck. It helps me pass math tests.

      • Caucasoid88

        I wear an afro when I play basketball. Helps me dunk.

  • Why? Who are we to argue with black science?

    • Raymond Kidwell

      You’re right. It’s racist white culture that judges outside cultures to be inferior. It’s rooted in white supremacy. Who is to say that our science is better than theirs?

  • Reynardine

    “…58 brutal attacks in which people have lost limbs and been left permanently scarred.”

    “Severin Edwards, from the Tanzanian Albino Society which will work with the government on the latest crackdown, said the country’s 35,000-strong albino population are living in fear because of a renewed appetite for their body parts, which can fetch up to £50,000.”

    Severin’ Edwards? Are you sure this wasn’t an Onion article? Gotta give him a hand for his work, though…

    • LexiconD1

      hahahah, I didn’t read your post before I posted mine. Hilarious.

  • Luca

    Wow, Africans really do inherently hate White people. Even the White-black ones.

  • LexiconD1

    About 20 years ago my Sunday paper (pre-internet news) had a huge headline “Penis scare in the Ivory Coast”. I began reading the article tears and laughter erupted. Apparently witch doctors were cursing men so their penises would fall off. I was incredulous to think these idiots still believe this could happen, in real life.

    Today readers would ask…”Is this an Onion article?”

    • Whitetrashgang

      Today a albino tomorrow your penis,truly Africa is a special place.

    • dd121

      It really isn’t funny. That’s who they are and that’s really how they think. Civilization will never change that.

      • Reynardine

        Apparently, mobile phone penetration is big in Africa too, which means scares and panics will just get larger…

    • Spikeygrrl

      I remember reading that story when it first came out, too.
      (Yeesh, we’re both getting old!)

    • Raymond Kidwell

      Witchcraft is real. It isn’t going to make your penis fall off or drop dead. It works in the realm of what is possible and deals with probabilities. The theory is totally coherent with discoveries in quantum physics.

    • John Smith

      That’s the worst thing a black man can conceive of.

  • dd121

    To our black African friends: don’t be too hasty, those albinos DO bring wealth, luck and power. Keep up the good work!

    • Reynardine

      They’re supposed to be “breeding” em, not “eating” them!

  • IKUredux

    As we have been told, over and over again: We are ALL EQUAL. NO civilization is superior. ALL civilizations are equal. So, I’m just wondering, what are the magical properties of Downs Syndrome people? Do you get fifty percent off if you buy a black inflicted with vitiligo?

  • Ban witchdoctors?

    Who shall administer a dung poultice?

    • Reynardine

      I dunno, but it’s going to cost an arm and a leg!

      ba-dum-tish

    • John Smith

      Negroes in the South drink a tea made from cowpies, despite having access to white civilization. Others even eat mud.

    • johningermany

      Go to youtube and type in “African witch doctor slaps guy’s head.” You will laugh.

  • Michael Whalen

    Ooh Ee Ooh Ah Ah Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang….. Forgive me. I couldn’t resist.

  • According to the Left, it’s only skin color that distinguishes the races. Thus, they can’t bring themselves to create an international scandal over the slaughter of albinos since, according to them, they’re “white,” and whites have no collective rights.

    • Raymond Kidwell

      These albinos are benefiting from white privilege. They need to make job quotas where albinos lose their jobs or access to schooling in order to correct for historical crimes of whites.

  • John Smith

    The ~70 average IQ pretty much guarantees this won’t work.