There’s nothing scarier than seeing an African albino – unless you’re looking in the mirror, in which case you should prepare to be hacked to death.
Police in Tanzania have arrested two witch doctors accused of hacking an albino woman to death. Charles Mkumbo, police chief of the Simiyu region in northwestern Tanzania, said a man and a woman, Gudawa Yalema and Shiwa Masalu, were brought in on the albino killing charges.
The victim, Munghu Lugata, 40, was killed after attackers hacked off her left leg above the knee and chopped off three fingers.
“Her grossly mutilated body was discovered outside of her home by her own niece,” a spokesperson for Under The Same Sun, a group that campaigns for the rights of albinos, said on Wednesday.
The Tuesday attack is nothing new in Tanzania, where albino men and women are hunted down more often than the endangered albino rhino. Apparently, witch doctors believe magic potions made with albino body parts can bring good fortune and prosperity.
“Witch doctors tell their clients that the skin, hair, blood and organs of persons with albinism when combined with their secret magic potions guarantee success, wealth and election victory,” the group said in a statement.
More than 70 albinos have been killed since 2000, typically in violent attacks. The last killing of an albino in Tanzania was in February 2013. And while albino killings are said to be on the decline, there are sharp spikes during election season.
With local polls coming up in October, people with albinism “fear for their lives”, the group said, adding that “the black market demand for the body parts of people with albinism escalates during these times”.
The government has been trying to curb these albino killings, even going so far as to elect the country’s first albino MP, Al-Shymaa Kway-Geer back in 2008. And if Kway-Geer needs some good luck to win the next election, all she has to do is dismember herself.