En raison du fort prix de leurs membre sur le marché noir, les albinos de Tanzanie sont en danger. Depuis 2007, une cinquantaine ont été tués, plusieurs autres se sont fait couper bras, jambes ou organes génitaux.
La population d’environ 170 000 albinos vit dans une peur constante. En raison de ce trafic immonde, plusieurs en sont réduits à vivre dans des enceintes protégées par des gardes armés, ou à être protégés par des gardes lorsqu’ils se déplacent.
Ziuazahau Rikele is a 22 year old mother of 2 year old twins Azizi and Aziza. They moved to Burahati, 12km west of Dar El Salam, because of constant threats from locals in their isolated birthplace, the Coastal region of Kilwa
Indeed, Mariam’s grandfather, Mabula, told this week how he had buried what was left of the little girl inside his mud hut.
Lifting the bed where his granddaughter’s remains were hidden beneath a mound of earth, he now sleeps above the grave to ensure robbers don’t come back to collect Mariam’s bones.
Amid an international outcry over this most recent spate of albino killings, the Tanzanian president, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, has banned all witch doctors from operating in his country – a favourite safari and beach holiday destination for British tourists – and has appointed the country’s first albino MP, Shaymaa Kwegyir.
The president has also ordered his officers to crack down on the trade. So far, more than 90 people have been arrested for their role in the grisly trade, including four corrupt police officers.
Fifteen other alleged albino murderers will also soon face trial.
Pressure groups battling to end the killing of albinos were last night celebrating the death sentences handed down to the three men who slaughtered Matatizo and chopped up his body for ‘medicine’.
Indeed, Ernest Kimaya, the chairman of the Tanzania Albino Society, last night called for the guilty men to be put to death in public – as a warning to others intent of selling albino body parts.
‘We hope that [the president] will authorise the death sentence the soonest,’ he said.
‘And that these executions are carried out publicly to show that the government is serious about this war against albino killers.’
Efforts to support albinos are also being made on a local level. A school has been turned into a sanctuary for albinos near the village where Mariam died.
Her nine-year-old brother, also an albino, has been enrolled there. But the children at the sanctuary are still not entirely safe from predators.
‘We have put up a fence and we are trying to step up security with night patrols,’ says head teacher, John Loudmoya. ‘But we still have to be on our guard.’
Indeed, it is unlikely that the hangings of the albino killers will bring an end to this murderous trade – for one simple reason: there is too much money at stake.
And while that remains the case, these extraordinary people will continue to suffer the most appalling violence at the hands of greedy and bloodthirsty mobs.
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