African Press International (API)

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Harvesting body parts in Tanzania: Sexual organs of male and female albinos are particularly sought

Posted by African Press International on May 6, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.standard.ke

The Tanzanian president has been forced to step in and save the situation. He now wants a crackdown by the government. In some regions, it has been reported that some people have even gone as far as killing their own children for witchcraft purposes. Albino persons are the one being tacketed andcaptured, killed and body parts uprooted and sold. API

Deadly harvest of body parts

Story by Khadija Yusuf

If you are an albino in Tanzania your life is likely to be at risk from enemies more deadly than the rays of the sun, an ever-present foe.

Since last month, there have been reports from that country about weird incidents of witchcraft and devil worship rituals involving human body parts.

Though in Kenya too there have been rumours of traditional healers who use human body parts in rituals, it is nothing compared to recent revelations of widespread use of body organs from albinos in Tanzania.

According to reports, the sexual organs of male and female albinos are particularly sought because it is believed they can effect miracle cures or offer mystical powers.

Witch doctors and devil worshippers believe that the organs of these people are a potent remedy when mixed with certain concoctions.

TOOLS OF A GRUESOME TRADE: In Tanzania, the body organs of albinos are being sought for witchcraft and devil worship rituals.

The notion that human body parts can be used to heal or bestow special powers has caused panic among the albino community in Tanzania.

The problem has reached such proportions that Tanzanias President, Jakaya Kikwete, used his monthly television address to announce a crackdown on the traditional healers as well as plans to register albinos to improve their safety. “These killings are shameful and distressing to our society,” said Mr Kikwete in his Wednesday night speech to the nation. “I am told that people kill albinos and chop their body parts, including fingers, believing they can get rich.”

Videos and films from Nigeria that tout the efficacy of witchcraft are widely to blame for the current crisis in Tanzania.

The phenomenon recently took on an East African dimension when Tanzanian police arrested two Kenyans in the Mara region of Tanzania for allegedly killing an albino woman.

The two men who are said to be from western Kenya are now in police custody in Tanzania.

Reports in Tanzanian media say the incident so incensed the Mara Provincial Commissioner, Luteni Kanali Issa that he revoked licences for foreign traditional healers and ghost busters from Kenya, Uganda and the DRC Congo.

“The influx of these traditional healers has contributed to mass deaths of albinos and soon they will be wiped out,” said Issa. “We will not allow any one to violate their fundamental rights.”

The administrator says the woman was killed at her house at Sarari in Tarime District on March 3 while another was killed at Kijiji cha Bwai Kwitururu, popularly known as Paris among the locals.

It later emerged that the Kenyan men had been sent by a traditional healer to collect body parts of an albino, which he claimed would make them fabulously wealthy.

Reports from Tanzania say unknown people have been stalking two albino pupils at Mtibwa Primary School in Turiani, Morogoro.

It is said the strangers have been making indiscreet enquiries about the two siblings.

Many albinos some estimates put the number at over 50 have been killed in various parts of Tanzania in recent months for get-rich rituals.

In the past albinos were regarded as a bad omen in Tanzania. Now they have become endangered as traditional healers lead people to believe that their body parts can be used to bring good fortune and sudden riches.

A number of incidents have been reported of albinos being killed in horrific circumstances and cases of exhumation of their corpses to retrieve body parts.

Recently a newspaper in Tanzania reported a number of atrocities ranging from a school pupil in Geita District whose hand was chopped off, to unidentified people who exhumed the body of an albino from a freshly dug grave and disappeared with it in Ukerewe District.

Last December, a teacher in Arusha was arrested for killing his own child, an albino with for unstated reasons.

In 2001, the Mbeya area experienced a wave of similar attacks in which a total of six people were believed to have been abducted and killed and their skins allegedly routed through Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo before reaching their final destination in West Africa.

At the time it was claimed that prices for the human skins ranged from Sh168,000 to Sh672,000, depending on the age of the victim.

Incidentally a gruesome exhibition of the human skins in question was shown during one of the annual trade fairs along Kilwa road as part of the official campaign to raise awareness about the underground human trade.

During the qualifying preliminaries for the 2006 World Cup, it is claimed that hippos, lions, elephants and hyenas were slaughtered to make a potion for the Swaziland soccer team to give its footballers extra strength.

Ritual murder involves the killing of someone in order to remove body parts for incorporation as ingredients in medicine or concoctions used in witchcraft.

It is said that practitioners of the dark arts are particularly keen on certain parts.

For example human skulls are placed on the foundations of new buildings to bring good luck to a business. Other body parts are buried on farms to secure big harvests, while hands are built into shop entrances to encourage customers. Hands are also burnt to ashes and mixed into a paste and supposedly used as a cure for stroke.

Human blood is believed to boost vitality while brains deliver political power and business success. Genitals, breasts and placentas are used for infertility and good luck, with the genitalia of young boys and virgin girls being especially prized as uncontaminated and therefore highly potent.

It is said that in South Africa, the organs of white men fetch more since whites are perceived as more successful in business. There is a belief that body parts taken from live victims are rendered more potent by their screams, according to a report by the South African Police Service Research Centre.

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African Press International – api

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