Only last week, Jonas Maduka, an albino, was killed in the village of Sogoso situated in the north-eastern parts of Tanzania. Jonas had just sat down to a meal when some people came soliciting his help. He was brutally attacked by the men as soon as he got out with the intention of helping them. They strangled him and cut off one of his limbs before taking to their heels.
Traditional healers are challenging the Tanzanian government, following the country’s Prime Minister’s announcement on Friday revoking their licences “with immediate effect”. According to BBC Africa, traditional healers who, despite the ban, continue to exercise their macabre rites have condemned the announcement. The government blames the fetish priests and traditional healers for the frequent gory ritual killings of albinos in the East African country.
Criticising the Tanzanian government, Haruna Kifimbo, herbalist and spokesman for the traditional healer’s association, in Arusha, indicated that the herbalists are legally licensed and demanded the authorities to deal with the appropriate “state organs” that “have not done much to stop the wave of albino killings”.
According to government statistics, members of the association offer their services to some 30% of the Tanzanian population. “We have so many patients and clients who depend on us,” he told the Citizen. “I believe it would have been better if the PM had consulted us before announcing the ban.” Haruna pointed.
This month alone, over 90 persons including 4 policemen have been arrested for either killing or selling albino human parts for rituals.
Fighting ritual murders
A resolution adopted last year, September 3 2008, by the European parliament “vigorously” condemned the bloody assassinations of albinos and the commercialisation of their body parts in Tanzania.
On its part, the Tanzanian government has taken measures to gather statistics on the number of albino citizens and to put in place an escort police for school going children suffering from albinism.
The presence of the only albino parliamentarian, Al-Shymaa Kway-Geer, has contributed to the fight against albino attacks in a country where albinism is not considered as a medical disability but rather a reason to murder them cold-bloodedly for rituals.
Although official statistics gathered by the government indicate that there are only 8,000 albinos in the country, the Albino Society of Tanzania claims that there are over 150,000 albinos out of 40 million Tanzanian citizens.
In the past year alone about 40 albino related killings were recorded by Tanzania.