Persecution of Albinos in Africa - Part 2
In Africa, Mariamu is not the only one that was mutilated in order to sell her body parts on the black market. In early May, Vumilia Makoye, 17, who made her living by selling peanuts in the market for $2 a week after dropping out of school due to prejudice against her and because she was losing her eyesight; a common problem to albinos. One night while having dinner with her family, they came for her armed with knives, they sawed off Vumilia's legs above the knee and ran away with the stumps. As a result Vumilia died.
An 11 year old albino girl Eunice Bahati was killed and her limbs chopped off while her family was in the next room. Her two sisters, also suffering from albinism, are now are too scared to get out of the house or to walk to school.
In 2009, seven more people with albinism have been killed. A little girl only seven years old was found headless and missing a hand. Five more albinos have been attacked within a two-month period. The crimes have expanded to neighboring countries like Kenya, where a Kenyan was caught trying to sell an albino man for more than a quarter million US dollars. In Burundi, at least 14 albinos have been killed in one year. In Swaziland, a young 11-year-old albino girl was also found headless and missing one of her arms.
It is beyond my worst nightmares to imagine why would anyone execute such a violence, but Tanzanian officials say prejudice, ignorance, traditional customs, and mainly poverty are behind these heinous crimes. The limb of an albino person on can be sold between $500 and $2000 on the black market in a country where a yearly income is around $450 or less. Tanzanians, still totally believe in superstitions, people with albinism are seen as ghosts, witches, and bad omens, it is also believed that they don’t die, but just disappear. It also doesn’t help that the witch doctors are like Gods who can do no wrong, so if they advocate using albino’s body parts in their potions to increase wealth or bring luck, people don’t question them.Continued on the next page