Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tanzania Cracks Down on Witchcraft Albino Murders

The President of Tanzania has called for an immediate end to the mutilation of albinos for use in witchcraft.

As we've been reporting, albinos are feared in most parts of Africa - so much so that their families often hide them away to protect them - thinking their genetic condition is due to a curse put upon the family. Many believe their body parts possess magical properties and the murder and mutilation of their bodies for use in rituals has become widespread. 19 albinos were murdered in Tanzania last year.

Many have accused the government of a lack of response and now the President of the region is calling for a crackdown on witchdoctors and others who traffick in albino body parts and rituals which employ them. People believe their fingers will bring them luck at fishing and mining, while other body parts have other properties.

Superstition runs rife throughout the region. Women with red eyes are thought to be witches and a rash of rapes in 2007 were blamed on the popo bawa, a winged daemon believed to be summoned by witchcraft.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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