Tanzania: 1-Year-Old Albino Boy's Kidnapping, Mutilation Raises Indignation

Locals Are Demanding Measures Against Witch Doctors, Use of Body Parts in Magic Practices

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Tanzanian police have stated that a one-year-old African albino boy has been kidnapped and mutilated. According to Fides, this murder has raised widespread indignation among Tanzanians who are demanding measures against witch doctors and the use of body parts in magic practices.

In the region of Geita in northwest Tanzania, the one-year-old was torn from his mother Feb. 15 by a group of men armed with machetes. Trying to protect her child, the mother was wounded.

According to United Nations data, some 70 albinos have been killed in the past decade in Tanzania.

Many of them have been murdered with cold steel weapons to dismember the body for parts to be used for magic rituals, traditionally thought to obtain wealth, success and to win elections.

Last month, Tanzania announced it was trying to crack down on these attacks by accusing witch doctors of starting albino manhunts and outlawing them.

It was revealed, in several cases, that family members were often accomplices to kidnappers who were offering large sums of money for an albino child.

“Magic practices” are very costly, and can only be afforded by wealthy people.

Last June, Pope Francis participated in an international awareness campaign called “Help African Albinos.” The Holy Father recorded his voice last November 30, reading several passages from the book “Ombra Bianco” (“White Shadow”) by the Italian author Cristiano Gentile. The book seeks to raise public awareness of the situation experienced by albinos in Africa: a population often rejected and repudiated.

The international campaign has the hashtag #HelpAfricanAlbinos and launched a petition in 6 languages on the site www.change.org to demonstrate closeness and ask for concrete help for African albinos, which was made possible thanks to a partnership with various NGOs, including Doctors with Africa-CUAMM.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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