Tanzania has banned witch doctors in a bid to curb a rising wave of attacks and murders of albinos whose body parts are prized for witchcraft after a four-year-old albino girl was kidnapped from her home by an armed gang.
More than 70 albinos, who lack pigment in their skin, hair and eyes, have been murdered in the country in the past decade for black magic purposes, according to United Nations figures, many hacked to death and body parts removed.
The government has accused witch doctors of fuelling these killings by luring people to bring albino body parts which they grind up with herbs, roots and sea water to make charms and spells that they claim bring good luck and wealth.
The nationwide ban come less than a week after UN officials urged the government to step up efforts to end the discrimination and attacks after a girl was abducted last month from her home in northern Mwanza region. She is still missing.
Tanzania’s Home Affairs Minister Mathias Chikawe said the government has formed a national task force involving the police and members of the Tanzania Albino Society to arrest and prosecute witch doctors defying the ban.
“We have identified that witch doctors are the ones who ask people to bring albino body parts to create magical charms which they claim can get them rich. We will leave no stone unturned until we end these evil acts,” Chikawe told reporters.
The Tanzania Albino Society welcomed the move, saying it would help end the worsening plight of albinos.