The witchdoctor-cultivated belief that albino body parts have magical powers has driven “as many as 10,000″ east African albinos into hiding from hunters who work with unscrupulous dealers to sell them for a reported $75,000 per dismembered set, reports the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Society (IFRCCS) in the study Through Albino eyes [.pdf].
The violence is focused on children who are stalked by “contract killers” who are in the employ of “witchdoctors” with wealthy clients, the report said. The “children who are both extremely vulnerable and extremely conspicuous,” and are a focus of mobilized police effort. But most of the attacks occur in rural areas where there are few police resources.
Through Albino Eyes [.pdf] reports that East Africa’s latest albino murder was in Tanzania’s Mwanza region in late October. Hunters of albinos beheaded 10-year-old Gasper Elikana “to stop him screaming,” hacked off his leg and fled with it. Elikana’s neighbors and father tried to defend him. His father was seriously injured.
“This is the 21st-century, y’all will want to remember,” Civil Commotion suggests.
Bringing African albinos into that century with us will require considerable effort. Swift legal action against those profiting from the slaughter is certainly part of the mix. In early November, Tanzania’s high court finanlized the sentence of four men to death by hanging for killing a 50-year-old albino man — a rare imposition of punishment.
Other governmental actions recommended by IFRCCS Include:
- Ensure effective legal protection for people with albinism.
- Use local administrative structures to locate albino people in
- Conduct public anti-discrimination campaigns and extend
medical services to albinos in need.