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Friday, September 18, 2009

Court hears how Bukombe albinos `were murdered`

Story courtesy of The Guardian Newspaper Tanzania. It appeared in yesterday's (17th Sept 2009) edition of the paper.

The High Court in Shinyanga Region’s Bukombe District, sitting specifically to preside over cases in which three people are charged with albino killings, was informed yesterday that the accused were behind the planning and execution of a spate of such murders.

Winding up the public prosecution’s submission, State Attorney Prudence Rweyongeza told the court that Masumbuko Madata of Itunga Village and Emmanuel Masangwa and Charles Kalamuji alias Charles Masangwa, both of Bunyihuna Village in Bukombe District, were behind the killings of albinos reported around the Lake Victoria zone.

Rweyongeza said investigations leading to court action after filing the murder case, no. 24 of 2009, revealed that the accused killed Matatizo Dunia (13) on the night of December 1 last year as the youngster slept in a house at Bunyihuna village, and disappeared with his body parts for witchcraft purposes.

He told the court, presided over by Judge Gabriel Rweyongeza, that the prosecution brought two types of evidence - circumstantial and through affidavits.

“In the right of the seriousness of the crime committed, which has tarnished the country’s image, the prosecution presented in court evidence from 15 different people who are credible and reliable and who have proved beyond reasonable doubt the involvement of the accused in the crime. I pray that the court convict the accused accordingly,” he pleaded.

Commenting on the affidavit presented, Rweyongeza said the evidence basically proved the brutal killing of Standard Four schoolboy Matatizo Dunia of Bunyihuna Village in Iponya Ward, Bukombe District.

He added that the accused were positively identified as having committed the crime and actually confessed to have done so.

The prosecution further submitted that all the accused had confessed through affidavits to have collaborated in planning and executing the scheme leading to the killing of the boy. They were later arrested after being found in possession of the boy’s legs.

Rweyongeza asked the court to ignore “inconsequential issues of contention” among witnesses such as the number of police officers and the vehicles used during the arrest of the suspects at Itunga village.

“These are trivial and cannot alter the truth about the people behind the crime,” he said, adding: “Witnesses are human beings and cannot remember everything.”

He submitted that one prosecution witness, first accused Madata’s wife Yunis Peter, willingly and without being swayed by prejudice or vengeance against the accused, explained before Judge Rwakibalila and the court assessors how her husband was busy with secret plans with third accused Kalamuji.

He quoted the woman as having explained how her husband made “endless trips” on November 30 last year “to accomplish his evil mission of killing the innocent boy and hide the body parts in the bush”. The case was adjourned until today, when the judge will hear presentations by court assessors before giving the date for ruling.

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