Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Albinos

People with albinism are being targeted in Burundi and Tanzania because of the superstitious belief that their body parts can be used by witchdoctors to make magic potions. This has sparked a lucrative trade in albino limbs, hair, and skin, and has caused albinos to abandon their homes or live in fear. Dozens have been killed, many of them children. One woman had her legs hacked off and died afterward; another woman's hand was cut off, but she survived. Most recently, a family had just returned to their home after fleeing to a provincial center in Ruyigi, Burundi, when attackers tied the parents up, shot their 6-year-old albino daughter in the head, dismembered her body, and took away her limbs and head. Albinos have long suffered discrimination in Africa, but an albino woman appointed to Tanzanian Parliament hopes to change that.

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