The body of a one-year-old albino child has been found in Tanzania with his arms and legs hacked off. This is apparently the latest in a string of similar killings to obtain body parts for use in witchcraft practices.
The boy, Yohana Bahati was apparently seized by men carrying machetes from his home in the Chato district of northern Tanzania Saturday. The child’s remains were discovered by police Tuesday, in a wooded area near his home.
The albino child’s mother, Ester Jonas, 30, has been hospitalized in a serious condition with machete cuts to her face and arms from trying to protect her baby. The child’s father, who was apparently close by during the attack, is being questioned by police.
— VICE News (@vicenews) February 18, 2015
The Inquisitr reported in January that Tanzania had banned witch doctors in that country in an effort to stem such attacks, but it seems their efforts are not working.
According to Reuters, Vicky Ntetema is the executive director of a Canadian non-profit working in the defense of albinos. She explained that the albino child’s body was found just a few kilometers from his home and she decried the killings for witchcraft in the country.
“Police found the body in Biharamulo Forest Reserve yesterday with his arms and legs hacked off.”
“When will Tanzanians stop believing in witch doctors who fuel the killings of persons with albinism for their body parts?”
The United Nations spokesperson for the country, Alvaro Rodriguez is “deeply concerned by the abductions of these two young children,” and said that there have been at least 74 albinos murdered in Tanzania since 2000.
The recent attack has been condemned by the United Nations, who warn that with general and presidential elections coming in October 2015, more people may turn to witchcraft and sorcerers in an attempt to boost their political campaigns. Rodriguez stated that albinos in Tanzania are facing a “dangerous year.”
“These attacks are accompanied by a high degree of impunity, and while Tanzania has made efforts to combat the problem, much more must be done to put an end to these heinous crimes and to protect this vulnerable segment of the population.”
“This is the year of elections in Tanzania and, as some analysts have suggested, it could be a dangerous year for people living with albinism.”
Ntetema added, “When will people in my country realize that organs of persons with albinism will never make one wealthy, successful and win elections?”
The latest killing comes in the wake of the December kidnapping of a four-year-old girl in northern Tanzania. While multiple arrests have been made in that case, the albino child has still not been found.
According to the UN, albino body parts fetch around $600 in Tanzania and an entire corpse can bring in $75,000.
The genetic condition of albinism is hereditary and causes the total absence of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes of those afflicted. According to experts, it affects one person in every 1,400 in Tanzania and is often a result of inbreeding. Compared to this, albinism in the West only affects one person in every 20,000.
[Image: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies]