East Africa & Albino Magic Murders

From the wonderful continent of Africa:

The East African country of Tanzania has reportedly banned witch doctors in an effort to prevent further witchcraft-related murders of albinos.

According to a story reported by Agence France-Presse, “The ban follows the kidnapping last month of a four-year-old girl by men armed with machetes, who took her from her home in the northern Mwanza region. Police have since arrested 15 people, including the girl’s father and two uncles, but she remains missing. ‘These so-called witches bear responsibility for the attacks against albinos,’ interior ministry spokesman Isaac Nantanga told AFP Wednesday.”

In Tanzania and Burundi at least 50 albinos have been murdered for their body parts in recent years according to a 2010 Red Cross report. In November 2009, four people were arrested and sentenced to death in northern Tanzania for killing an albino man to harvest his body parts.

A month earlier, albino hunters beheaded a 10-year-old boy and hacked off his leg. In May of last year two witch doctors were arrested in connection with the death of an albino woman who was murdered for her body parts.

Throughout Africa witch doctors are consulted not only for healing diseases, but also for placing (or removing) magic curses or bringing luck in love or business. The belief and practice of using body parts for magical ritual or benefit is called muti. Muti murders are particularly brutal, with knives and machetes used to cut and hack off limbs, breasts, and other body parts from their living victims…

Ah, but what of this bit of white, colonialist propaganda?

It’s been tried before: Colonial governments, and the British Empire in particular, instituted various anti-witchcraft laws in the 19th and 20th centuries. By passing those laws the governments did not officially endorse the reality of magic or witchcraft but instead implemented them to curb accusations of witchcraft.

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