The lives of several albinos in Tanzania are currently endangered as people hunt them to sell them off to witch doctors in tandem with the belief that their body parts often bring goodluck and fortunes.
‘People with the albinism are being hunted and killed for our body parts. It is because people want to become rich.
‘We are still living in danger. It is because people, they have different ideas. Some people, they are thinking they should get our body parts and sell to different places.
It was learnt that a ‘full set’ that is a whole body of one albino is sold for as much as $75,000 which is about £50,000 whereas the limb sells for $3,000 or $4,000 depending on the buyer’s bargaining power.
The attackers often chop off the limbs of the victims which usually left them severely maimed or dead in extreme cases. Often times, the graves of the dead ones are usually raided as reports state that so far, 16 graves have been robbed.
According to experts, albinism, a hereditary genetic condition which causes a total absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes, affects one Tanzanian in 1,400, often as a result of inbreeding in remote and rural communities.
About 74 albinos have been killed and 59 maimed since records of the attacks started being kept.
Among the victims is a 4-year-old victim identified as Pendo Emmanuelle Nundi, who was kidnapped in December 2014 from her home and is yet to be found.
Her father and uncle were both arrested in connection with her disappearance
Another victim, Mwigulu Matonange, 11, had his left arm mutilated on his way back from school when he was 10 years old.
The little boy who was attacked in February 2014 said, ‘I was held down like a goat about to be slaughtered
A UN report revealed that a man connived with four other men and cut off the arm of his 38-year-old albino wife with machetes while she was sleeping in February 2013.
Her eight-year-old daughter watched her father leave the bedroom carrying her mother’s arm.
Also, UN records reveal that political campaigners employed the services of witch doctors to help them win election in August.
Torner also stated the fears of the albinos as the election draws closer in October2015 adding that several death records have already been made since last year.
Over the course of just 11 days last year, there were three attacks and two attempted attacks on people with albinism in Tanzania.
One man, believed to be in his early 20s, was found lying dead, his body mutilated, in the grass by some schoolchildren in a suburb of Dar Es Salaam.
The next day, a mother-of-seven was attacked in the Tabora region of Tanzania, losing her arm.
A few days before, 15-year-old Pendo Sengerema was attacked as she ate dinner at home with her family.
They hacked off her right arm just below the elbow, before running off into the dark.
A wealthy client had reportedly promised to pay a witch doctor the sum of $600 for Sengerema’s arm.
Sengerema who has been dead terrified said, ‘I am asking the police to move me to a safer place and protect me because bad men might come back to kill me.
These ‘safer places’ are the centres set up around the country, where large number of people with albinism are living behind high walls for their own protection.
The camps were established after the first high profile waves of attacks, a knee-jerk response to a terrifying situation.
But the government now appears to be taking action after widespread criticism of its reaction to Sengerema’s abduction, it moved to outlaw the witch doctors behind the killings, according to Daily Mail.
However, other countries in Africa have a fair share of the attacks and murders of people with albinism as a total of 136 killings and 211 attacks across 25 countries in Africa since they began keeping records.
A total of 33 reports of killings, attacks and grave robberies have been recorded in neighbouring Burundi, with 29 cases recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In west Africa, cases have been recorded in the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Ghana, while there have also been attacks in southern countries like South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique.
Tanzania’s albino population is being hunted down by people who want to turn their body parts into potions and charms. (Photo Credit: Harry Freeland)
Josephat Torner, a campaigner for albino rights who works with charity Standing Voice, says family members have been involved in planning attacks against people with albinism. (Photo Credit: Harry Freeland)