CONDEMNING THE RECENT BRUTAL WITCHCRAFT RELATED MURDER OF A YOUNG BOY WITH ALBINISM IN TANZANIA
May 21, 2021 - VANCOUVER, CANADA
Only two weeks ago, on May 3 or 4, 2021 an innocent 5- or 6-year-old boy with the genetic condition of albinism, was savagely murdered. His tender body was violently mutilated, with his organs and limbs being savagely harvested, very likely for sale to witch doctors. In Tanzania and several other African nations, the body parts of persons with albinism (sometimes also known as "albinos") are trafficked in an underground trade related to witchcraft practice. It is falsely believed by some that such body parts can be used to bring good luck and prosperity. Albinism is a rare genetically inherited condition resulting in very limited pigment in a person's hair, skin, and eyes. People with albinism also have a severe visual impairment.
As at the time of this publication, the identity and family home of the boy are not known. The boy's mutilated body was discovered by villagers in the bushes of a rural area near a pond in Usadala sub-village of Utemini village, Ndono Ward in Uyui District of Tabora Region (Western Tanzania). According to witnesses of the incident, the body was found with severed arms, his eyes removed and his left ear and genitals hacked off.
On the day the boy's body was found, Village leaders sent this report to the Uyui District Police Station between 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm. Between 3:00 and 4:00 pm the same day, police officers arrived at the crime scene and examined the body of the deceased boy and took various photos of the body. The reports from the villagers (where the body was found) who were interviewed by the investigating team, as well as the reports from the doctor and the Head of the District Criminal Investigation Department confirmed that the mutilated body was that of a child with albinism.
However, quite sadly, the report of this incident has not been widely publicized to the public by the relevant authorities to locate and assist the parents or relatives of the deceased. The police force and villagers confirmed that the murdered boy with albinism was not from Utemini village or its neighbouring villages. In fact, the Ward Executive Officer inspected eight villages within his Ward and was unable to identify any family that had lost a child with albinism.
According to witnesses, the body of the deceased is estimated to have been at the crime scene for between two to three days based upon the level of decomposition of the body. The witnesses' reports confirmed that the deceased was murdered elsewhere, and the body was dumped in Usadala sub-village. This conclusion was drawn as the location at which the body was found showed no signs of blood spatter or related evidence to indicate that murder and mutilation had taken place in the area.
To date, there is no persons in police custody in relation to the incident. Neither has there been any detailed official update publicly published about this crime by the police.
Under The Same Sun (Canada) in solidarity with the Legal and Human Rights Center of Tanzania (LHRC), echo their appeal to the relevant authorities in the country to immediately do the following:
- To ensure that relevant authorities widely disseminate this information to the public in Tanzania in hopes of identifying the victim's family so they may attend the place of his burial.
- To ensure that a fully transparent and comprehensive investigation into this heinous crime is conducted and the perpetrators are handed over to state authorities.
- To ensure that the Inspector General of Police in Tanzania treats this matter with great seriousness as should be the case with such a heinous murder of a child.
- That Home Affairs Minister Hon. George Simbachawene conduct an in-depth follow-up and issue a government statement to the Parliament with the hope of stopping the killings of persons with albinism which have now recently re-emerged.
- That the Government of Tanzania move swiftly and firmly to ensure that all related departments and ministries act to respect and adhere to the National Constitution and regional and international conventions on human rights.
Under The Same Sun (UTSS) has been at the forefront of defending the rights of people with albinism internationally - with a focus on Tanzania and Africa since its inception in 2008. UTSS holds credentials at the UN Human Rights Council and within various groups at the African Union. The news of this murder is particularly alarming as there has not been a killing of this type reported in Tanzania since February 17, 2015. UTSS records contain evidence of 407 killings and attacks on people with albinism from 30 nations.
For interview requests or for further information please contact:
For detailed local information related to this specific matter in Tanzania please also contact:
NOTE: The substantive details of this report were gathered from a press release published on May 17, 2021 in Tanzania by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) in collaboration with Tabora Vision Community Based Organization (TAVICO). UTSS has reviewed the relevant information available at present and is satisfied as to its accuracy.