Four Tanzanians jailed for life over chopping off arm of an albino

In prison

A Tanzanian court on Wednesday sentenced four people to life imprisonment after they were convicted of chopping off the arm of a person with albinism.

Judge Richard Mashauri of the Tanzania High Court in Sumbawanga in the southern highlands the four had intended to sell the arm to a witch doctor.

The cutting of limbs of albinos and the killings of them in the east African nation have been driven by the belief advanced by some witch doctors that the body parts of people with albinism have properties that confer wealth and good luck.

The four culprits, who committed the crime on May 14, 2015, are all residents of Mamba ward in Mlele district.

State Attorneys Simon Peres and Dickson Makoro, for the prosecution, had told the court that the convicts had raided a house of a person with albinism to kill him but they ended up chopping off his arm.

“After they had chopped off the victim’s arm they went to sell it to a witch doctor for 6 million Tanzanian shillings (about 2,607 dollars),” Peres had told the court.

In November 2017, Tanzania’s Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said at least 34 people had been convicted of killing people with albinism in the country and sentenced to death by hanging during the period from 2006 to 2016.

Several other cases of people accused of killing people with albinism are still pending in courts throughout the country, Beatrice Mpembo, a State Attorney from the DPP told a two-day consultative meeting to strategize on countering brutality and killings of people with albinism.

Some of the people living with albinism have been victims of violence and some of them killed or became disabled due to their body parts being chopped off.

Most of the victims are found in mining areas that attract influx of people from other parts of Tanzania and outside the country with diverse cultural backgrounds.

Some of these people believed that in order to be rich through mining activities, blood from people with albinism and their body parts must be obtained.

It is also believed that the body parts of people with albinism have magical powers capable of bringing riches if produced by local witch doctors and used as medicine. (Xinhua/NAN)