Thursday, 5 February 2009

Ultraviolets, ultraviolence: double threat for Tanzania's albinos

From AFP, Paris, France

When he walks down a street in northern Tanzania, Alfred Kapole knows that his legs, arms, skin, tongue and hair are worth thousands of dollars to local witch doctors.

As an albino, he used to have to hide from the sun but now he is also being hunted as an ingredient for "lucky potions" to make people rich, a macabre trade for which more than 40 albinos have been slaughtered over the past year.

"Once we were walking down the street, with the albino society's secretary and treasurer, heading to the hospital for a check-up and some builders started yelling 'Deal! Deal!'" said Kapole.

The chairman of the Tanzania Albino Society in the Mwanza region said the men were arrested but a court later let them off, arguing that it could not be established whether they were guilty of abuse.

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