Witchdoctors arrested after albino murder

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Dar es Salaam - Tanzanian police have arrested two alleged witch doctors after an albino woman was hacked to death for body parts, a rights group said on Wednesday.

Munghu Lugata, 40, was killed after attackers hacked off her left leg above the knee and chopped off three fingers on Monday, said Under The Same Sun, a group which campaigns for the rights of albinos.

Charles Mkumbo, police chief of the Simiyu region in northwestern Tanzania, said that a man and a woman, Gudawa Yalema and Shiwa Masalu, had been arrested.

“Her grossly mutilated body was discovered outside of her home by her own niece,” the group said, adding that more than 70 albinos have been killed since 2000, with a similar number suffering violent attacks.

In Tanzania, albinos are killed and dismembered due to a widespread belief that charms made from their body parts bring good fortune and prosperity.

“Witch doctors tell their clients that the skin, hair, blood and organs of persons with albinism when combined with their secret magic potions guarantee success, wealth and election victory,” the group said in a statement.

Albinism is a genetic condition characterised by a deficiency of melanin pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes which protects from the sun's ultraviolet rays.

People suffering from the condition are discriminated against and persecuted in many African countries.

With local polls due in October, people with albinism “fear for their lives”, the group said, adding that “the black market demand for the body parts of people with albinism escalates during these times.”

Sapa-AFP


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