Tanzania has banned soothsayers in order to protect albinos, dozens of who have been killed in recent years for their body parts which are used in power and wealth rituals, media reported on Wednesday.
Home Affairs Minister, Mathias Chikawe announced the creation of a task force comprising representatives of the government and the Tanzania Albino Society (TAS) to investigate the killings.
About 70 albinos, people born without pigmentation have been killed in the east African country over the past six years.
The report says their body parts, ranging from hearts to genitals, are regarded as powerful magical ingredients. However, it said that 10 people have been convicted of murder.
“The new task force will review court cases involving albino killings to make sure culprits did not get away too lightly.
“Soothsayers are the ones fueling albino killings, we are going to look for them and those who will be apprehended will be prosecuted,’’ Chikawe said.
He stressed that “witchdoctors” claiming to make people rich should not be confounded with practitioners of alternative medicine. Tanzania has thousands of traditional healers who treat people medically and psychologically.
TAS chairman, Ernest Kimaya, whose organisation has 12,000 members, expressed a profound appreciation for the important step taken by the government.
“It is unthinkable, ridiculous and totally unacceptable that in this century some people could be so easily deceived by witchdoctors.
“Especially into thinking they could become rich by killing fellow human beings whose only misfortune is being born with albinism,’’ the TAS chairman said.
Photo Credit: Voice of America/Reuters