Tanzania president vows to end albino killings

Tanzania President, Jakaya Kikwete, promised on Tuesday in Dar es Salam, to end a wave of killings of albinos, saying the witchcraft-related murder was a big shame to the country.

He said during a national broadcast that there was urgent need for closer cooperation between the government and the society to end the killing of persons with albinism.

Mr. Kikwete said more than 70 albinos had been killed since 2007 but insisted that his government was taking action to end the murders.

The President said he had agreed to meet albino leaders next week to discuss possible solutions to the killings.
“We will not allow things to escalate as they did in previous years.

“There are about 200,000 albinos in Tanzania, most of them easily recognisable as they lack pigment in their skin, eyes and hair,’’ he said.

The President said investigations revealed that witch doctors often tell clients that albino body parts would bring them luck in love life and business.

“It is a false belief that if someone has the body parts of a person with albinism this will bring success in business, fishing and mining activities.

“This is what has been fuelling this ongoing evil,” he said.

He said similar beliefs exist in other African societies but activists say attacks on albinos were particularly prevalent in Tanzania.

Activists said the murders had been concentrated in gold-rich regions and fishing communities surrounding the country’s Lake Victoria area where superstitious beliefs are rampant.

They said most attacks are not reported to the police.

(Reuters/NAN)

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