- Eleven people accused of attacking and killing albinos in East Africa over the period of six months are in court facing charges of murder and attempted murder. At least 12 albinos were murdered and mutilated in the six months until March this year in Burundi and more than 40 since late 2007 in neighbouring Tanzania. The accused have however denied the charges.
Prosecutor Nicodemus Gahimbare told the court that eight of the suspects embarked on a killing and mutilation spree of albinos on 8 September with the murder of a young girl. The other three are charged for attempted murder.
The prosecutor said he was hopeful the trial would dismantle the criminal gang which has wreaked terror among his country's albino community, forcing the authorities to gather dozens of them in protected sites.
He said the ruling is expected by Wednesday, to decide the fate of alleged killers of albinos in Burundi.
The police believe albino body parts are smuggled out of Burundi and sold in Tanzania, where killing of albinos is rife, with their body parts believed to be used in witchcraft.
If the 11 are convicted, they could be sentenced uo to a life in prison.
According to reports from the regioin, witchdoctors tell clients that potions made with albino body parts will bring them luck in love, life and business.
Albinism is a congenital lack of the melamin pigment in the skin, eyes and hair which protects from the sun's ultra-violets.
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