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Tanzanian Witchdoctors Murdering Albinos Arrested

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In Tanzania, over 200 witchdoctors and soothsayers have been arrested for murdering albinos in order to sell their body parts.

Witchdoctors were banned in January, but last week 32 of them were arrested. Last week a one-year-old albino boy was murdered.

The UN claims almost 80 albinos in Tanzania have been murdered in the past 15 years, likely for their body parts; the Red Cross has stated that sellers of complete albino body parts to witchdoctors can fetch up to $75,000.

Some witchdoctors apparently believe that body parts from albinos can bring riches as well as good luck. One in every 1,400 Tanzanians is an albino; in the West, that figure is one in 20,000.

Police spokesperson Advera Bulimba told the AFP news agency that of the 225 unlicensed healers and soothsayers who were arrested, “Some of those arrested were found in possession of items like lizard skin, warthog teeth, ostrich eggs, monkey tails, bird claws, mule tails and lion skin.”

There has been a vigilante campaign against witchdoctors by those furious with the attacks on albinos; the Center for Advocacy in Rural Development and the Dar es Salaam-based Legal and Human Rights Center said vigilantes lynched, stoned, or hacked to death over 1,000 women suspected of being witchdoctors last year.


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