Albino United
Tanzania's Albino Murder Crisis
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Thursday 27 May 2010

Over the last few years, more than 50 albinos have been murdered in Tanzania, including children and
babies as young as six months old. Many more have been attacked with machetes and have had their limbs
cut off.
Their attackers sell their body parts to witch doctors - for huge sums of money - to be used in potions and
remedies. In one of the poorest countries in the world, it is believed that these potions can bring great
wealth.
These beliefs - and the murders - are especially prevalent in the remote and rural areas of north-western
Tanzania, including the fishing and mining areas of Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria.
Many local fishermen believe that having the hairs of an albino in their net will bring them more fish.
Miners who risk their lives searching for gold and diamonds in the region's hills believe that the powdered
bones of an albino can bring them more gold.
Albino genitals are made into treatments to boost sexual potency, and potions made from albino legs,
hair, hands and blood are believed to make people rich.
The killings have spread into neighbouring countries, including Burundi, Kenya and Uganda. An
international market demanding as much as US$75,000 for a full set of albino body parts has reached as
far as West Africa: unimaginable sums of money for the millions of people in East Africa who live on less
than £2 a day.
According to Tanzanian police in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, the murders are the work of
organised gangs. The trade is so lucrative that many families have to bury their dead albino relatives in
cement-sealed graves or at secret locations to protect them from grave-robbers.

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