- Traditional healers in Tanzanian have rejected a government ban on the old-age practice, in a desparate bid to halt the killings of albinos for ritual medicine. Last Friday, Tanzania revoked the licences of all its traditional healers.
At least 40 albinos have been killed since the middle of 2007 and, around 90 people have been arrested over the past few months suspected of involvement in killing albinos or trading their body parts.
The move came just days after the latest murder of an albino man in the northwestern Mwanza region, a remote area bordering Lake Victoria where old superstitions are said to still run deep.
Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda said witch doctors are big liars, perpetuating killings of ordinary and vulnerable citizens while they should have been curing a number of diseases that are crippling the country.
Reports have revealed that the albino killers sell body parts including limbs, hair, skin and genitals to witch doctors for use in rituals.
There are estimated popullations of more than 200,000 albinos in the country, which has a total population of 40 million. The violence has also spread to neighbouring states, with at least one albino murder each in Burundi and Kenya last year. Police in those countries accused that the killings were ordered by Tanzanians.
Human rights groups have said an albino in Africa is a curse, saying traditional remedies and rituals are also very popular in Africa. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of Africans make use of herbal remedies rather than Western medicine, according to local media reports.
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