A Tanzanian toddler, Yohanna Bahati, was brutally murdered and his mother seriously injured while trying to defend her baby. Little Bahati was kidnapped by two men armed with machetes on February 14. He was later found with his arms and legs cut off.
Many people in Sub-Saharan Africa live with and believe in witchcraft and magic. People with albinism(PWA) are particular targets when a powerful magic is required. Body parts may fetch the equivalent of a man’s annual wages.
Albinism is an inherited disorder that prevents the development of pigment in the body. Most children in underdeveloped countries become blind. In African countries, skin cancer is an ever present threat.
An even bigger threat to the PWA is the belief that their body parts can confer a great boost to a magic potion grisly as it seems. Coupled with this, are strange myths about them including one that states that they are not human but ghosts.
The trade in body parts may be expanding even as the Tanzanian government announced it is attempting to stop the practise. Recently a Tanzanian man travelling to the Democratic Republic of the Congo was arrested with the head of an albino infant. He claimed to have a buyer with the price determined by the weight of the head.
Human body parts are used in muti to support the belief that regular muti medicine will be more effective if human body parts are involved. The body parts are often taken from live victims because of the belief that the intensity of their screams, while being chopped, enhances the potency of the medicine. Under the Same Sun
The spate of killings of PWA in Tanzania is expected to continue as politicians preparing for the upcoming elections may order up particularly powerful magic potions to help ensure their success. A rally by parents of PWA and their friends in the nation’s capital, Dar es Salaam, was cancelled by authorities on Monday after initial permission was granted.