Tanzania convicts 34 over killing of albinos

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DAR ES SALAAM, Nov. 2 – Tanzania’s Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said on Thursday at least 34 people have 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.

She told the meeting organized by Tanzania Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) in the political capital Dodoma that 67 cases of the killings of people with albinism were still pending in courts across the country.

Mpembo said her office has been facing difficulties in administering cases related to the killings of people with albinism and attacks on such people due to insufficient evidence.

“Most cases related to the killings of people with albinism involve some family members, as a result it has been difficult to get sufficient evidence due to lack of cooperation from the relatives thus contributing to delays in delivering ruling on the cases,” Mpembo said.

She said the worst of such killings was recorded in the east African country in 2008 where some 19 people with albinism were killed.

Ralph Meela, a senior police officer in charge of Offences Against Persons and Traffic Related Offences, said people with albinism or mothers with children born with the genetic disorder have been denied their rights.

“These people fail to take appropriate action because they lack awareness of their rights,” said Meela.

He said there was need to raise public awareness on the killings of people with albinism throughout the country because the police could not eliminate the problem single-handedly.

Killings of albinos 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.

(Copyright Xinhua, obtained through National News Agency)

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