Tanzania’s albinos are being ‘hunted down like animals’ as greed for money and influence drives families to turn on their own loved ones in a trade allegedly fuelled by some of the country’s most powerful people.
It is believed albino body parts will bring a person wealth, or luck – and for that, people are willing to pay as much as $3,000 or $4,000 for a limb, or as much as $75,000 – about £50,000 – for the ‘full set’, a whole body.
Hunted down like animals and sold by their own families for $75,000: Tanzania’s albinos hacked apart by witchdoctors who believe their body parts ‘bring luck’ in sick trade ‘fuelled by the country’s elite’.
Albinism is a hereditary genetic condition which causes a total absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes, albinism affects one Tanzanian in 1,400, often as a result of inbreeding in remote and rural communities, experts say.
In the West, it affects just one person in 20,000.
Families are often told to kill the children at birth. Yet, conversely, their body parts are highly prized.
‘The killings and attacks is the outcome of the stigma and discrimination. If you respect me, you won’t think of me as a commodity,’ he said.
Witch doctors claim albino body parts are capable of bringing riches, power and success, if used in potions, while a UN report report into the trade revealed miners used the bone as amulets, or would bury them where they are drilling for gold.
Most of the time, limbs are taken – but the report notes there have been cases where victims were beheaded, genitals, ears, and bits of skin were removed; tongues were cut out and the eyes and the heart gouged out.