This Blog's Guiding Maxim:-

"The person who shies at the possibility of increased responsibilities or at the prospect of future uncertainties is hardly worthy of life itself, for life consists of uncertainties, problems and challenges of various types."

Check out the Site:

Under the Same Sun - A site out to fight the cause of the Albinos

Contact Me:

You can contact the blog editor through this e-mail address: (ritchmbuthia at gmail dot com)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Salum Khalfan Barwany - Tanzania's Albino MP fears for his life


Tanzania's first elected albino member of parliament fears his life could be in danger in the east African country where albino hunters kill their victims and use their blood and body parts for witchcraft.

Salum Khalfan Barwany said he may be threatened by an unknown group that has been tracking his movements since he was elected MP for the Lindi Urban constituency in southern Tanzania in an October 31 election...Check out the Rest of Story Here

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vicky Ntetema: A Resolute and Courageous Woman...

...a woman who has the interests of Albinos in Tanzania at heart

Vicky Ntetema,a Tanzanian journalist

Question: What exactly inspired you to singlehandedly hold the bull by its horns, going after and exposing those who engage in the insane acts? Was it a duty call? Has the practice ever affected your personal life before you took off? do you have friends or relatives who are albinos?

Answer: I hate to be a witness to injustices and standby without doing anything. And as a journalist, I owe it to my profession and the public to go an extra mile to find the truth and tell it as it is. What would you do when a mother tells you that she was forced to choose between releasing her seven month old baby with albinism to the killers and witnessing the slaughter of three of her children one by one until they get what they want!

What about listening to a teenager boy narrating with pain about the killers who had to butcher his mother and pregnant sister to get a leg of his ten year old sister with albinism because a witchdoctor ordered it for a client? Would you keep quiet when you hear how helpless underage children watch as the neck of their five year old kid sister is slit open, legs hacked off, blood drunk by killers who disappear with the limbs and tongue! I had to do something!


...Check out the Rest of the Interview Here

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Parliamentary candidate's gaffe during a campaign rally

This BLOGGER says:
....It was insensitive of him to make such a remark. He should have known better than to say such a thing. He is one who should be leading the way in the fight against albino discrimination...


Story courtesy of The Guardian newspaper, Tanzania

Lindi Urban CCM parliamentary candidate Mohamed Abdul Azizi has conceded that the Civic United Front (CUF) presidential candidate, Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, is a well learned economist who could bring economic revolution in the country if elected president.

Azizi, who also doubles as Iringa Regional Commissioner, is defending his position in the constituency he has been representing in parliament for a long time.

He told a campaign rally at Matopeni area that Prof Lipumba was one of the most brilliant academicians in the country who has offered his contribution to the development of the country and other nations.

The parliamentary candidate cited the US and European countries whose economies the professor had helped to improve, but told the potential voters that the time for Prof Lipumba to run the country was yet to come because of the existing traditional transfer of authority, for which he didn’t elaborate.

In another turn of events, Azizi and his campaign manager Khalfani Mandanje, used abusive and stigmatising language against Lindi Urban parliamentary candidate Salum Bar’wani from the Civic United Front, saying he was unsuitable because he was an albino.
They told the electorate in Ng’apa, Mingoyo, Chikonji and Matopeni wards at varying times of the campaigns that
under normal circumstances people with albinism suffered memory loss because of the lack of Vitamin C as they are exposed to sunlight.

CCM candidate Azizi is quoted to have said: “In the past, our elders spat on their chests if they met albinos in the morning to drive away any curse.”

An embittered Bar’wani told journalists that people harbouring such attitudes were no different from those who killed albinos for superstitious reasons.
He is considering to petition to the national electoral commission.

Meanwhile, Azizi asked the electorate to vote him back into parliamaent so that he could finalise the construction of his hotel. But he did not give details.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Plight of albinos should shame us to the core

...SNAPSHOTS...

...At what point did we lose our humanity that we regard anyone who looks even slightly different from the majority as a lesser being? Albinos deal with prejudice every waking day of their lives, and perhaps even in sleep. Just being in public is a nightmare for most...

...The silly and futile belief that sacrificing albinos brings good luck, has led to their being hunted down, killed and their body parts sold to witchdoctors.
It is easy to pass on the burden of responsibility in ending this horrific and beastly trade to the Government and police, but that will not make it go away...

...We must stand up to be counted among the defenders of this endangered minority, whose only ‘crime’ is that they lack the ability to make enough melanin to turn their skins ebony...

...Albinism is due to a genetic defect that exists in a percentage of any sample of the population, and has nothing to do with black magic or sorcery. Albinos have no supernatural abilities, and to believe otherwise is FOOLISH!...
...Check out the Story Here

In Swaziland: Albino (11) shot, beheaded

The death of an 11-year old Albino girl will forever be etched on the minds of her friends who watched haplessly after she was abducted, shot and beheaded...Check out the Story Here

In Kenya: Woman kills albino child to avoid bad omen

A woman who killed her four-month-old baby because she was an albino has been sentenced to serve one year in jail by a Gucha court.

Sara Kemunto Nyabuto, 23, committed the offence on August 2, 2010 at Bokimweri sub location in Nyamache district...Check out the Story Here

Only education will end albino killings

Story courtesy of The Guardian newspaper, Tanzania

By Gerald Kitabu


This week Gerald Kitabu interviewed Claus Ngowi, a student at the Institute of Social Work who has done research on albino killings. Excerpts:

QUESTION: What moved you to conduct research on albino killings?

ANSWER: I had accompanied a Swedish photojournalist, Johan Bavman, who had come to Tanzania to conduct a research on albino killings. I joined him and visited many parts of the country to document the killings. We wanted not only to sensitize the public to protect them and to urge government take concrete measures against these killings.

Q: What kind of stories were you gathering from the field?

A: Many horrifying stories one cannot imagine. For example, in April 2008, a woman close to 40 years in the lake Zone had sent her 10-year-old daughter to school as usual. On the way back, she walked with two other girls from the neighbourhood. During the short walk, they met a man who promised to give them sugarcane if they went with him to the corner of the road near a forest. When they arrived, he told the other two girls to go away. Her daughter who was an albino was hit hard in the head.

Q: Why do killers do that?

A: According to research, many killers are superstitious; they believe that albino arms, legs and genitals can bring them fortune. Rich men and witch doctors use poor and desperate people to carry out their dirty work of looking for albino body parts.

Q: How do albinos feel?

A: When you talk to many albinos, you find out that they are resigned; many think that their fellow human beings whom they used to eat, play and live together in peace have turned against them. Some albinos say that the government, too, is no longer with them because some cases are still pending in courts.

Q: What is the magnitude of the problem at present?

A: The problem is very big, and the war against albino killers is far from being won. Many people may think that incidents of albino killings are declining. They’re not. In fact, it is because the media people are not reporting such incidents.

Q: What strategies do killers use?

A: It seems the killers keep on changing their tactics every passing day. But their main techniques include sweet words and promises like marrying them, helping them to get jobs in big cities like Dar es Salaam, using their friends in exchange for money, forging friendship with them and hunting them during night.

Q: You have said that you are now planning to make a movie on your research, why?

A: To see is different from to hear. To see something has immediate impact than to hear or read in newspapers. I would like therefore, to deliver the message in a very simple but practical way so that all people and stakeholders can feel the same way Albino feels so that they can act on it faster. Movies are the best way to deliver the message as compared to other methods.

However, being a social worker, I would like to apply my profession to educate the public through movies on the problem.

Q: Where will you get the donors to finance your movies?

A: Every person in Tanzania is a victim of albino killings because they are our fellow Tanzanians, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. I think if I talk to donors about the movie, any good Samaritans will be interested to finance it.

Q: What should be done to protect them?

A: I see it as a more of societal problem; a problem that can be solved only when you educate the community. The media and the police force alone will never stop this menace among us. It is only education that will end the killings. However, the government should have a policy that will clearly articulate and guarantee security, including introduction of a special institution which will provide home- based care to albinos.

Under the Same Sun's Albinos Honour Roll

9 PERSONS WITH ALBINISM SURVIVE BRUTAL
MACHETE ATTACKS IN TANZANIA.


Emmanuel FESTO, age 7, survived a brutal machete attack on November 12,
2007. His arm was hacked off and the fingers of his remaining hand were also chopped
off. Emmanuel has been relocated to a safer place and is now attending a private
boarding school sponsored by the UTSS Education Scholarship Fund.
Emmanuel Festo
NOTE: Official reports indicate that between 2007 and 2010, 66 persons with albinism have
been brutally attacked; their body parts hacked off and sold to witchdoctors. Of the 66
attacks, 57 were murders and 9 are mutilated survivors. Leaders in the albinism
community believe the number of attacks & deaths is closer to 100 or...Check out the Story Here

Sunday, August 22, 2010

They call us ‘albinos’ — the licence to mock and murder fellow humans

Truly the East African Economic Community has taken off. You can now move all sorts of goods and merchandise across the common border without hindrance. Indeed, there is this lucrative trade item — the albino.

You do not have to carry it across the border, it will walk across with you, and even keep you company on the way. If it happens to be your childhood friend, well, that’s just a minor inconvenience. The sale of its hair, legs, arms will fetch you millions...

If the story of Robinson and “friend” Nathan was not so tragic, it would be very funny...Check out the Story Here

Albino who was being sold was abandoned by parents

Mr Robinson Mnoti Mkwama, alias Musungu, who was about to be sold to human traffickers in Tanzania, was abandoned by his parents at an early age in Nairobi.

Mr Mkwama, who has albinism, was brought up in an orphanage in Nairobi, where he pursued his education to Form Four...Check out the Story Here

This new threat against albinos should be nipped in the bud

THE CRIMINAL trade in body parts of people with albinism has taken a new and most alarming dimension that involves smuggling albinos from neighbouring countries and "selling" them alive in Tanzania.

Police in Mwanza Region are holding a Kenyan, Nathan Mtei, who allegedly brought a teenage albino, Mr Robinson Mkwana Mnyoti into the country looking for a buyer at a price of 400m/-...Check out the Story Here

Kenyan jailed 17 years, fined 80 million/- over albino deal

Story courtesy of The Guardian newspaper, Tanzania

Nathan Mutei, a Kenyan, is escorted out of court in Mwanza. He was jailed for 17 years.

The Resident Magistrate's Court in Mwanza Region has sentenced a Kenyan national, Nathan Mtei Mwasha, to a 17-year jail term and a fine of 80m/- after he was found guilty of human trafficking and attempting to sell an albino, Robinson Mukwana, for 400m/-.

Mwasha was arrested for allegedly trafficking Mukwana from Kitale (Kenya) to Tanzania with the intention to sell him.

When he first appeared in court, he pleaded guilty to the charges against him, which prompted the magistrate to give his verdict within a short time.

Delivering judgement on Wednesday, resident magistrate Angelous Rumisha said the accused’s attempt to sell the albino was inhuman and barbaric, and that the punishment given was indented to deter other people.

Earlier, state attorney David Kakwaya alleged in court that the accused committed the offence on August 12, this year.

Kakwaya explained that the accused told Mukwana he was taking him to Tanzania to offer him a job, to which he agreed without knowing that he was going to be sold.

He said the accused came to Mwanza for the first time in June, this year, to look for a witchdoctor, whom he told he had some albino bones and he was looking for customers.

Kakwaya noted that the witchdoctor told him to give him time as he looked for the customers.

“The witchdoctor reported the matter to the police, who set up a trap. However, the accused managed to sneak out of the country before the police apprehended him,” Kakwaya told the court.

He said when the accused and his unsuspecting prey arrived in Mwanza on August 12, this year, they booked at River Side Guest House in Buzurugwa area.

He said the accused then called the witchdoctor, who had promised to look for customers. Instead he informed the police, who apprehended him before he could accomplish his ill mission.

................... ........

This is how
BBC
reported the incident
:...Check out the Story Here

2 weeks ago: Albino killer challenges verdict in Appeal Court

Story courtesy of The Guardian newspaper, Tanzania

Check out the Previous News Piece on the same Story

Kazimili Mashauri (50), who was recently sentenced to death by hanging after he was found guilty of killing a five-year-old albino girl, has lodged an application to the Court of Appeal of Tanzania in Mwanza challenging the High Court’s verdict.

The Court of Appeal yesterday confirmed it had received the appeal by the convict, who was sentenced to death for killing Mariam Emmanuel.

The appeal was filed by the convict’s counsel Wilbroad Butambala recently, High Court Registrar Isaya Arufani confirmed yesterday.

The verdict was delivered on July 27, this year, by High Court Judge Projest Rugazia.

According to the High Court registrar, the convict’s counsel challenges High Court proceedings during the determination of the case and the death sentence imposed on the convict.

The judgment, which lasted for an hour, was read by Judge Rugazia, who argued he was satisfied with prosecution witnesses levelled against the first accused, who he found guilty of murder.

He said he could not implicate an accomplice (the second accused) because the prosecution did not table strong evidence as claimed by court assessors and as a result, he set him free.

Judge Rugazia, while reading the verdict, said the prosecution depended much on witness number two Nhindi Emmanuel assertions that for quite sometime, he was used in the case, therefore, it was easy for the witness to identify the accused.

The prosecution brought eight witnesses including the mother of the deceased girl, Flora Mabula, and her two children.

The murder of the albino girl occurred on January 21, 2008 at around 04:00am in Nyangh’olongo Village, Misungwi District in Mwanza Region, whereby the accused murdered and drank the blood of the albino girl from a bowl.

3 weeks ago: Tenth person sentenced to death over albino killings

Story courtesy of The Guardian newspaper, Tanzania
Kazimili Mashauri seated (L) after being sentenced to death by the Mwanza High Court for killing Mariam Emmanuel (5). With him is Mathias Itangala, who was acquitted.
A Mwanza resident, Kazimili Mashauri was yesterday convicted and sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of five-year old child, Mariam Emmanuel who was suffering from albinism.

His conviction by the High Court in Mwanza brought to 10 the number of sentenced to death for albino killings that rocked the country three years ago.

The killing of the albino child occurred on January 21, 2008 around 4.00 am at Nyangh’olongo village in Misungwi District, Mwanza Region. Hearing of the case started on July 6, this year, and the prosecuting side had four witnesses including the mother of the child, Flora Mabula.

Mashauri was the first accused in the case involving the brutal killing of the five-year old child.

The second accused in the case, Mathias Italanga, alias Machona was freed by the court.

In its first ruling in September last year, the High Court sitting in Shinyanga sentenced to death three accused persons in connection with the killings.

In October last year the High Court in Tabora Zone sentenced three accused persons to death by hanging after they were found guilty of two separate murders of albinos that were committed between 2002 and 2003.

Three other accused people were sentenced to death by hanging by another High Court sitting in Shinyanga in November last year.

Yesterday’s landmark ruling that lasted for almost one hour yesterday, was read by High Court Judge Projest Rugazia who said the court arrived at the decision after being satisfied with the evidence presented by the second witness in court against the first accused in the case.

Rugazia said the court had decided to set free the second accused in the case because evidence tendered in court against him was shallow as suggested by the court assessors.

He said the court verdict was made on the basis of evidence presented by the second witness to the case, Nhindi Emmanuel, who, according to the judge, witnessed the murder.

“The court believes that the evidence tendered by the second witness is true because it was supported by the evidence presented by the deceased child’s mother,” said Rugazia.

The judge rejected defense statement presented by the convict as untrue.

He said the court was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt by the evidence presented by the second witness, who had said that he saw the convict killing the child and drink her blood.

On the material day, the second and third witnesses were sleeping with the murdered child.

The trio who were convicted in September, last year and are now on death row are Masumbuko Madata (32) of Itunga Village, Emmanuel Masangwa (28) of Bunyihuna Village and Charles Kalamuji alias Charles Masangwa (42) of Nanda Village, all in Bukombe District.

They were convicted by Judge Gabriel Rwakibarila after being found guilty of conspiring and killing an albino schoolboy, Matatizo Dunia (13), on December 1, 2008 at Bunyihuna village in Shinyanga Region’s Bukombe District.

Ilanga Bagagu, a resident of Nyakabindi village, Dutwa hamlet in Bariadi District, was convicted in October, last year , after being found guilty of killing his best friend, Emmanuel Maduhu, a businessman selling onions in the district.

Others who were also sentenced to death are Masalu Misalaba of Lyagiti village and Said Masolwa alias Bunga of Lyabukande.

Delivering the judgement, Judge Mjalius said that both accused were found guilty of conspiring to kill Masolwa, who was brother of accused Said Masolwa.

He said that on February 3, 2003 the accused together with others, who did not appear in court, attacked Masolwa who was riding a bicycle together with Manyeye Bukamu.

Those who were sentenced to death in November last year by the High Court Judge Gadi Mjemas included Mboje Mawe, Chenyenye Kishiwa, Sayi Gamaya and Sayi Mafizi, all residents of Nkindwabiye village in Bariadi district, Shinyanga region to be hanged to death.

He said the four conspired and killed Lyaku Wille (50) of Nkindwabiye village between November and December 2008.

Judge Mjemas said he was convinced beyond reasonable doubt based on evidence adduced from DNA results conducted by a government chemist, Gloria Machube that matched blood stains found on the weapons which were in the accused possession, that none other than the accused committed the offence.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Under The Same Sun at NOAH 2010

This July, UTSS had 12 representatives at the Washington DC national conference on
albinism. There were 4 from Tanzania and 8 from Canada. NOAH (National Organization for Albinism & Hypo-pigmentation) is an American - based non-profit organization that sponsors a conference every 2 years representing the albinism community.

This year’s event reported over 900 in attendance with a moderate representation from the international community as well. We met fellow Canadians, Tanzanians, South Africans, a gentleman from Senegal, another from Nigeria, and a number of folk from
Australia – a very diverse crowd to say the least. For those of us with albinism, the sense of kinship, affinity, connection, and understanding was palpable as we were surrounded by this unique fellowship that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet and certainly not in our day to day lives.

For those of us without albinism there was the unique experience of being a minority group to the people with albinism surrounding us. It felt right! For both groups, the deepest expressions of this experience were manifested in tears and laughter as words failed to capture its essence. ...Check out the Story Here

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Terrible tale in court: How albino was ruthlessly killed

This article was translated by Jean Burke for this blog from a Kiswahili newspaper (NIPASHE)

The second witness in the case of the murder of a child with albinism, has described to the Supreme Court of Tanzania of Mwanza Zone that he saw the first defendant, Kazimili Mashauri, when he killed his younger sister, Mariam Emmanuel (5) and that he told them if they made a sound they would be killed.

A part of the examination, between this witness, Nhindi Emmanuel, who is in Grade Five and the Public Prosecutor, Ayub Mwenda, before the Judge Projest Rugazia who is hearing this case , was as follows:

Lawyer: What happened at night when you were asleep?

Witness: Three people woke us up.

Lawyer: What did they tell you?

Witness: Lie down. If you make a noise we will kill you.

Lawyer: What did they have?

Witness: One had a machete, the second had a knife and the third a torch.

Lawyer: After telling you to lie down, what did they start to do?

Witness: They started to kill our little sister.

Lawyer: Who was killing her?

Witness: Kazimili.

Lawyer: What were the other two doing?

Witness: One was catching the blood by using a saucepan.

Lawyer: The other?

Witness: He was shining a torch.

Lawyer: After killing her, what happened then?

Witness: Kazimili drank the blood.

Lawyer: What happened after slaughtering her?

Witness: They cut off her legs.

Lawyer: How did you recognize Kazimili?

Witness: He was shining light with the torch.

Lawyer: Where was Kazimili living?

Witness: Just in the village.

Lawyer: What did you do after they left?

Witness: I went into my grandfather’s room to tell him, I called him Grandpa, Grandpa but he didn’t wake up. Later my uncle came and he kept calling him and then he woke up.

The witness told the court that he explained to his grandfather that Mariam was ruthlessly killed by Kazimili and then his grandfather lit a lamp and went to look.
He was questioned by the lawyer defending the first accused, Willbard Butambala, if the murderers hit him, and the witness described to Judge Rugazia that Kazimili hit him with the machete on his back.

In another event, Judge Rugazia decided to use his discretion after the third witness in this case, Jesca Emmanuel or Ndashaba didn’t understand the meaning of an oath and the effects of lying.

This witness who didn’t mention her age, told the judge that she is in first class in Ukiriguru Primary School in Misungwi district.

She was assisted by an interpreter, Jackson Tinapo, who interpreted the questions into Sukuma language, this child said she didn’t know when she started school, and the lessons which she is studying and that they did exams in February.

Because of the situation, Judge Rugazia said this witness didn’t appear to understand and it was unnecessary to teach her about oaths, and so permitted her to give evidence without an oath.

This case, number 42 of the year 2009 concerns the two accused, Kazimili Mashauri (48) and Mathias Italanga (60) known as Mahona.

The murder of Mariam occurred on January 21, in the year 2008, at 4 in the morning in Nyangh’olongo village of Misungwi district Mwanza region.

This case began to be heard on Tuesday when the mother of the deceased, Flora Mabula, gave evidence before Judge Rugazia adjourned it until yesterday. The case continues today.

Mother describes how her albino child was killed

This article was translated by Jean Burke for this blog from a Kiswahili newspaper (NIPASHE)

The first witness in the case of the murder of albino, Mariam Emmanuel (5), Flora Mabula (33) has described to the Supreme Court of Tanzania of Mwanza Zone that prior to the murder occurring the first defendant, Kazimili Mashauri (48), asked her children about the house where they sleep.

This witness who is the mother of the deceased, told the court that because they were related to Mashauri, the children told him that they stayed in their grandfather’s house and she (the witness) was not worried about this.

The murder of albino, Mariam Emmanuel took place on January 21, this year at the time of 4am in Nyangh’olongo village of Misungwi district where it is claimed the murder suspects cut off both legs and disappeared with them.

This case is being heard by Judge Protace Rugazia and the prosecution side is being led by Public Prosecutor, Ayubu Mwenda, assisted by Stephen Makwega and Judith Nyaki.
Guided by the lawyer Mwenda, the witness told judge Rugazia that Mashauri was recognized by her children while holding a torch after breaking into the house and entering their room. Flora continued to explain to Judge Rugazia that this torch was used to illuminate the deceased where they were sleeping and the other murderers were holding machetes and pans to collect the blood. She claimed that at the time of this incident she was sleeping in her hut which was in the area of her father Mabula Fimbo, while her six children were asleep in their grandfather’s house.

According to Flora, while still sleeping she heard a noise made by people coming outside and finding many people in her father’s house and she tried to ask what had happened and she was told to go inside and see for herself.

“I went inside and found my daughter Mariamu had been ruthlessly killed and her body lay on the bed with both of her legs gone,” she explained to the court in a voice hard to hear.

She claimed that when she asked her other children who carried out this murder, they told her that they saw Mashauri holding a torch.

This case, number 42 of the year 2009 is directed towards two accused, Mashauri and Mathias Italanga (60) better known as Mahona.

The murder of the child, Mariam, occurred on January 21, 2008 at 4 am in the morning in Nyangh’olongo village, Misungwi district, of Mwanza region.
Judge Rugazia adjourned the case until tomorrow when the second witness will begin to give their evidence.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Albino’s grave dug up, bones taken

This article was translated for this blog from Kiswahili by Jean Burke. It first appeared in
Nipashe,
a Kiswahili newspaper here in Tanzania


The fear of being hunted for albino body parts has re-emerged after claims that unknown people exhumed the grave of a person with albinism in the Izengwabasumba settlement in Nyamalulu village, Geita district and some bones have disappeared.

It is alleged this incident is related to superstitious beliefs to gain riches from gold mining. It is said that the police force have not arrested any suspects but are continuing their investigations and already a confidential list of suspects including a traditional healer is being prepared as an initial step.

It is alleged the incident occurred at night in early July and was then reported at district police headquarters.

It is claimed that residents of this village discovered the grave of Zawadi Mangidu (22), at about four-thirty in the afternoon had been exhumed and a piece of a bone had fallen on top of the grave.

Information from the incident area indicates that suspects dug up the grave at the side of the cement-built area..by digging in areas without cement and then after exhuming it and removing the bones dug up, they filled in the hole and vanished.

In verifying the occurence of this incident, the Police Commander of Mwanza Region, Simon Sirro, said this incident took place one night in early July and that already a team of police led by the Head of Police of Geita district had arrived at the location of the incident.

He said the police went to the location of the incident after receiving the report from the village chair and began investigations where it was evident that after exhuming the grave, the criminals had filled it in later.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A call to all by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: Help the Albinos

If you would like to support our work in helping the albinos in Tanzania and Burundi, you can donate by using the bank details below.

Account Name: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Bank Name: Standard Chartered Bank
Account Number: 8706025934700
Swift Code: SCBLKENXAXX
Country: Kenya
Reference: Albino project


Please note that this bank account is a US dollars account held by the International Federation regional office in Nairobi. To make sure your donation is earmarked for the albinos, please ensure you include the reference 'Albino project' when you make your donation. On behalf of the albinos, thank you for supporting our work.

Tanzania: albinos are “a walking deal”

Article courtesy of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

A problem that was originally confined to the Great Lakes region of Tanganyika is now spreading into mainland Tanzania. Two of the recent attacks on albinos took place less than 300 kilometres from the city of Dar es Salaam. The situation has been further aggravated by an increase in the value of a complete set of albino body parts – now fetching 200,000 US dollars....

Rukia recalls how that fateful night she had strapped Fatuma on her back as she went about her evening chores. She then felt a hard blow on her left rib. She quickly turned around only to see a man trying to hide a machete behind his back...


With a shaky voice Rukia tells how she came to understand that her husband was behind the attack...

Read the rest HERE.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The murder of albinos in Tanzania



...“One person, a little boy of 4 was murdered. A man lost a hand, the hand was chopped off. A little girl who is now in hospital, her hand was chopped off and there was an attack with severe injuries when a woman of 33 years of age and a little girl of 12 months old were attacked.”...



...“These witch doctors have turned into small gods. All over the place people fear them, people believe them. People trust them. If you say to a Tanzanian you don’t have to go to witch doctor to be successful you don’t have to go to a witch doctor to solve your problems they will look at you and say are you coming from Mars? Most of them believe in witch doctors.”...

READ THE REST HERE

Body of albino woman exhumed

Unknown people have allegedly exhumed the body of an albino woman in Biharamulo district, Kagera region and made away with her body parts...READ THE REST HERE.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Peter Ash: A Beacon for Tanzanian albinos

Article courtesy of The Citizen newspaper (Tanzania)

The Canadian philanthropist has walked miles in the shoes of albinos, raising awareness about albinism and the unquestionable humanity of those who have it
If it were a movie or play, he would have been the typical empathetic hero, who traversed deserts to come to the rescue of his friends under siege. But Peter Ash is not a movie star, and his friends are not subjects in a Hollywood film.


Yet like the protagonist in a movie, the 45-year-old Canadian is the heroic man, who is admired and idealised by thousands of albinos in Tanzania for coming from a far-off country to their rescue.


Being an albino too, it is most likely that he understood too well the plight people with albinism could have been going through. In his childhood, he had had to contend with name-calling by his peers for being an albino. Yet when he thought he had heard the worst, he realised one day that elsewhere, the ordeal of being an albino was beyond anyone’s imagination.

“I first heard of albino killings in 2008 through a BBC English service report by Vicky Ntetema. Then I knew that my brothers and sisters were dying,” says Ash, the president and founder of ‘Under the Same Sun’, an organisation that assists albinos in Tanzania.

The organisation aims at protecting an estimated 170,000 albinos in the country, who live in constant fear of ‘machete’-brandishing murderers, baying for their arms and legs.

More than 50 albinos have been murdered in the country in the past year and half alone by superstitious fortune seekers, who believe that a concoction containing some albino body parts makes them rich and powerful. The Tanzania Albino Society says the total number of murdered albinos in the country is as high as 80.

The murderers are said to be selling an arm for up to $3,000 (Sh4.2 million) and limb for as much as $7,500 (Sh10.5 million). It was at the height of the killings, rampant in some parts of Burundi and Kenya too, that Ash decided to come and help in a different way.

Surprised“I was surprised by the large numbers of albinos in Tanzania and the rest of East Africa, it is quite different from Canada and the other parts of the world,” he says.


An established entrepreneur running a money-lending company, Ash was born in Canada in 1965. He grew up and studied in the North American country, where he obtained degrees in theology and psychology.

Man of the cloth

For 10 years, he worked as a man of the cloth with two churches before he began his money-lending business. Could it be his experience as a cleric that drove him into philanthropy? Maybe.

But the heavily built Canadian went through difficult times due to the unusual colour of his skin. “When I was young, my friends used to make fun of me, calling me names, especially because of my vision problem,” he recalls.

However, the name-calling, painful as it was for a young child, ended during childhood. He says he had no such experience again in school as an adult. He was, nevertheless, to feel it once more, and much worse, on learning that in some parts of Tanzania’s rural areas and East Africa, not only were albinos contending with discrimination, but also daily threats to their lives.

“No one ever killed albino babies in Canada based on the belief that they are a curse,” he says. He believes discrimination and poverty has reduced the life expectancy of albinos in Tanzania to 30 years. In Canada and other countries, people with albinism could live longer, despite the problem of skin cancer.

Discrimination
Ash decries the extent of discrimination against albinos in the country. Giving the example of Said Abdalla, an albino in Morogoro whose hand was chopped off last month, he says the prejudice against people with albinism is worse here than in any other part of the world that he has been to.

Ash paid Said a visit, only to discover that none of the victim’s relatives knew where he was living. “Even the brother (didn’t know where Said was living after the incident), but all of a sudden he was of interest to them because he was getting help from ‘Under the Same Sun’.

Through the organisation, the passionate Canadian philanthropist provides emotional and material support to thousands of albinos in the country. Among other things, the charity provides sunglasses used to avoid too much exposure to the sun.

He dismisses what he says is a widespread belief among local albinos that the problem of frequent reflex eye-blinking most of them have is stopped by exposing an albino child to the sun soon after birth. Ash explains that the problem can be stopped by simply putting on sunglasses.

‘Under the Same Sun’, which is located in Mikocheni, Dar es Salaam, also helps albinos with tanning lotion and medical cover for some of the victims of the brutal attacks.

“They are exposed to too much sun, they can’t afford to buy tanning lotion, and they don’t have sunglasses, this is why they end up with skin cancer, which eventually leads to their death.”

In addition, the charity has a scholarship programme aimed at providing free education to albinos and improving their quality of life.

Vicky Ntetema, a former Tanzanian BBC correspondent and now executive director of media and international affairs with ‘Under the Same Sun’, describes Ash as someone who is “dedicating his energy and resources to help our brothers and sisters who are under siege”.

“He decided to call the charity ‘Under the Same Sun’ because all of us, regardless of our colour, black or white, albino or no albino, we all live under the same sun,” says Vicky, who won an award for her involvement in albinism advocacy.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Human Rights Case of Persons with Albinism in Uganda

In the temperate cycle between evening and twilight, Ugandan families prepare dinner. Living to the cycle of seasons and nature’s clock, there is a quiet pace that breaks the sounds of day. Chickens and goats are settling down, the air becomes more still and windows glow with an evening light. The daytime sounds in the neighborhood are folding into evening’s blanket.

In this part of Africa....”Read The Rest Here

.....................................

She continues, “Tanzania and other neighboring countries share similar beliefs surrounding Albinism as Uganda, which have allowed witchdoctors in these countries to exploit these superstitions in order to pursue their own economic gains.” “When a group is defined as anything less than human, acts of discrimination become acceptable. The most devastating construct in Tanzania and Burundi is the myth that certain body parts of an albino person can bring wealth.”Read The Rest Here

Students beg JK for albino-killers to be killed

This article was translated by Jean Burke for this blog. It appeared in a Kiswahili newspaper, NIPASHE.
Children with albinism who attend Pongwe Primary School in the town here have asked President Jakaya Kikwete (JK) to insist the authorization of the death sentence by hanging until dead be issued by the courts for those involved in murders of albinos.

They have said this step will help greatly in frightening off those involved in these murders and ultimately to completely stop the nightmare which continues to take the lives of albinos in various areas of the country.

This was stated in interviews conducted with this newspaper, a short time after the appointed Member of Parliament, Al-Shymaa Kwegyir through her institution of Good Hope Star Foundation handed over sun-protection creams (lotion) and sunglasses.

These students generally stated they are fed up of a life without freedom due to fear of being killed anytime at the same time some of them lack basic rights as children because parents must hide them inside to avoid being hurt.

Semeni Bahati (12), a student in sixth class at this school said he is a resident of Sengerema of Mwanza region but his parents assisted him escape and brought him to Tanga region to save his live after his younger sibling who was an albino was killed by unknown persons.

And Mwania Salum who also is an albino and a student of this school saked the Government to increase security in those schools where children with albinism study, a ste which will encourage parents to send their children to schools if they know there is sufficient safety.

The specially appointed Member of Parliamant on the CCM ticket in Tanga region said that the battles in the war against albino murders in this country have been continuing resulting from the extensive and strong network which is beyond understanding.

Al-Shyamaa stated traditional healers have been accused of being involved in these murders even though they have denied this accusation and said that those who are involved in these acts are witches.

The Head Teacher of this primary school in Pongwe, Paulo Shechambo stated that currently the school has a total of 1,063 out of whom 23 are albinos and 68 students are blind.

The poverty of Tanzania stuns EU Ambassador

This article first appeared in a Kiswahili newspaper (NIPASHE). It was translated for this blog by Jean Burke.
Head of Delegation of the European Commission (EU) in Tanzania, Ambassador Tim Clarke, said he hasn’t see any changes in the efforts made to lift the country out of poverty and bring development to its citizens over the last twenty years.

Ambassador Clarke gave this statement at a conference to stand up for those people who are forgotten, recognized as “marginalized groups”, held in the Social Welfare Institute, in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

The conference was organised by the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) in cooperation with EU, as part of the 10-year celebrations since the Union was established.

The conference aimed to provide an opportunity to understand these groups, their needs, and how they support themselves and how the EU will be able to assist them out of poverty.

“I came to Tanzania 20 years ago, and then left. The agricultural situation which was in the villages at that time, is still the same. We can’t make economic changes and emerge from poverty without an agricultural revolution,” said Ambassador Clarke.

He highlighted things which must be done to remove poverty including identifying groups which are marginalized, to have one vision and raising voices together in making demands and in bringing changes in the situation in the country.

This statement came from the conference by Ambassador Clarke with the Executive Officer of Tamwa, Ananilea Nkya, after speaking with the ambassador during a short break during conference discussions when each participant was able to exchange ideas with others sitting next to them about how to lift these people from poverty.

Firstly, at this conference Ambassador Clarke stated the EU program in the country aims mainly to help the government reduce poverty.

“Are we really doing this? It’s an important question to ask ourselves, are the poor becoming poorer, and the rich becoming richer?” he asked.

He wanted conference participants and Tanzanians in general to explain clearly to the Union and other development partners how they will be able to improve their live.

“This is your conference. Tell us how we and other development partners can improve your lives,” Ambassador Clarke said.

When presenting on the topic of “the way bribes affect the albino woman” at the conference, an entrepreneur from an albino group, Nasra Mbonea, said the kickbacks have been the main source of murders against people with albinism (albino) in the country because some of the wealthy tempt people to carry out these cruel acts.

She said apart from these cruel murders, some people in the community show stigma towards albino as a result of superstition and backward customs, moreover the cream which helps care for their skin (albino), is sold for a high price.

Nasra said stigma against albinos has reached a very bad stage with their bodies and skin being used by some people as a way to make an economic profit due to backward beliefs.

“If Albinos start a business, like selling food, people don’t buy from them. They avoid even giving them a lift in their car out of fear if there is an accident the person who gave them the lift may appear to be taking them to sell or kill them. Currently there is a belief which has emerged in society that, if you go with (have sex) with an albino you will be cured from AIDS or become rich, we are stigmatized a lot,” said Nasra.

She said if she was the President of Tanzania, she would punish anyone who gets a guilty judgement from court for cutting an albino child, by cutting off both their hands, instead of sentending them to jail, which she said only cares for them by providing food free bought out of citizen’s taxes.

When delivering a presentation about "education for the blind in Tanzania ", Shella Gailos said the actual educational situation is not in line with improvements needed because blind women do not benefit, they are faced with challenges of poor quality learning and teaching equipment; some said Mathematics and Science lessons are not taught in secondary schools for the blind.

In her presentation on the topic of “the situation of disabled people in the economy”, an entrepreneur from the Sebo group in Mikocheni, of Dar es Salaam city, Cecilia Masika, said the economic situation of a person with disability is dismal compared to someone without a disability, especially for women, because many of them don’t receive primary school education.

Also, she said employment for people with disabilities is still a problem because of the assumption that they can’t work.

She said statistics of disabled people indicate only 736 people are employed by the government and that, they have visited 51 extraction factories and witnessed only one employed disabled person.

She said this situation has forced many educated disabled people into the private sector, where they fail to support themselves due to lack of education about this sector.

And the musician of The Seven Blind Beats Band, Boniface Kiyenzi, said if he was President of Tanzania, he would establish a Ministry of People with Special Needs rather than the current situation only of a department of social welfare which doesn’t provide complete services because they are not given adequate grants for the needs of the groups involved.

Many participants contributed to this conference and they recommended emphasising education for groups of people with disabilites; including lame people, the blind, the deaf and albinos. Also, to strengthen communication between various service providers, such as courts, police and hospitals.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Albino Killings have to End

Article courtesy of Daily News newspaper, Tanzania

MORE incidents of albino killings continue to be reported in Tanzania and neighbouring Burundi, giving out signals that the shameful trade in their body parts has not waned despite local and international outrage.

Records show that at least 57 people with albinism were murdered in different parts of the country since 2007 and earlier this week, a 28 year-old albino woman and her four year-old son were killed at a village near the Burundi border with Tanzania.

The two victims had their limbs and organs hacked off by a gang and the boy's non-albino grandfather who intervened to stop them was killed on the spot.

Authorities in Burundi reportedly say there had been a total 14 murders in the central African country so far.

Analysts and human rights activists say these are only the documented cases as the numbers are likely to be much higher.

It is sad that more albinos are still being murdered after seven people linked to the practice were sentenced to death.

Various institutions including the government, religious organisations, media and other stakeholders have for the last three years been involved in public education campaign against the killings.

It is unfortunate that there are some people who believe that albino body parts can be used to concoct lucky or wealth-enhancing charms and killers on many occasions go for limbs, genitals, ears, nose and tongues.

Recent killings should now serve as a wake up call for people to be more vigilant and address the problem by stepping public education and interrogate thoroughly all suspects.

The government should see to it that cases pending in court must be disposed of as soon as possible so that any conviction would serve as a lesson that crime does not pay.

Friday, May 7, 2010

APPETITE FOR ALBINO BODY PARTS CONTINUES UNABATED IN TANZANIA AND BURUNDI: 7 MORE SLAUGHTERED IN JUST WEEKS

Under the Same Sun Press Release - May 5, 2010


It is Sunday May 2, 2010 and night has fallen on the quiet village of Cankunko in the Cendajuru
District in the country of Burundi, bordering Tanzania.

Several hand grenades are strategically launched at a simple homestead, a home where a mother and child with albinism live peacefully. The loud explosion rocks the family from their sleep. Nine armed men rapidly and forcefully engage in a savage rampage. Wielding machetes, they hack off all the limbs they can grab. Their sinister appetite for albino body parts is fueled by a lucrative trade linked to thepractice of witchcraft in the region. Yet to be named, wealthy consumers (commonly referred to as “honorable”) keep this trade alive, believing it will yield them power and wealth. Once the wild, blood thirsty campaign of carnage stops,the murderers emerge with a bag full of fresh and bloody body parts, ready to quickly sell at a handsome profit.

Attacked February 8th, Twelve month old Fatma Mohammed displays the 10 centimeter long scar left by her attackers

The human toll is steep. Four year old Desire Vyegura has lost his life. The killers now have
possession of his tongue, one of his eyes, one of his legs and an arm. Susanna Vyegura, his
28 year old albino mother now lays lifeless, with both legs and arms gone. Both of her breasts
have also been violently chopped from her mutilated body. Her non-albino father bravely tried
to stop the killers, but was overpowered and brutally murdered on the spot, according to
Burundian Police Chief Deogratias Ntahompagaze

A family – wiped out – within minutes – all to supply a sinister industry operating in the area.

In the weeks leading up to this Sunday’s carnage, killers struck 5 more times in Tanzania:
On April 26th
, a 13 year old girl, Kabula Nkalango, was attacked, having her hand hacked off.
Fortunately, she survived. On April 18th
, there was the murder of little four-year old Naimana Daudi. Her body mutilated,
robbed of her left arm and leg, she was left to bleed to death.
On April 10th
, there was the attempted murder of 41 year old Said Abdallah, a quiet farmer, who
had his left hand violently chopped off. He lay unconscious for hours bleeding. He narrowly
survived.

On February 8th
tiny, innocent, 12 month old baby Fatma Mohammed was attacked, sustaining
a 10 centimeter gash along her leg and thigh – in the killer’s vile attempt to dismember her. Her
mother, Rukia, also an albino, received severe head injuries, in their attempt to also dismember
her.

Peter Ash with 12 month old Fatma and her mother Rukia
This brings the total in Tanzania to 57
murders and 6 attempted murders, where
victims lost limbs. In Burundi, the total is 14
murders. These are only the documented
cases. The numbers are likely much higher –
estimates suggesting well over a hundred in
the last 2 years.

On this battlefield stands East Africa’s people
with albinism. Hundreds and Thousands of
them living in a state of total fear. Afraid to
sleep in their homes. Fearful to walk in their
villages. Often unwilling to attend school for
fear of threats and attack.

This continuing crisis has been met with loud cries for justice
by the United Nations, The United States, the European
Union and other nations and civil society groups. Joining
these voices is Under The Same Sun (UTSS), an
International NGO based in Canada, with operations in
Tanzania. UTSS continues to decry these atrocities and to
appeal strongly for justice on behalf of the victims.
Furthermore, UTSS (www.underthesamesun.com) appeals
to these international bodies to become a more unified force,
imploring the Tanzanian government to take stronger action
in this war which is defiling human dignity.

Sadly, justice has been far too slow in coming. Of the 63
reported cases in Tanzania, a mere 2 have been brought to
conviction in the last 2 years. In sharp contrast, 12 of
Burundi’s 14 cases have led to convictions. UTSS has
embarked on a variety of educational campaigns in Tanzania
and internationally to confront the discrimination that fuels
these crimes against humanity.
Attacked April 10th
, 41 year old Said Abdallah
lost his hand and forearm in an attempted
murder

This racially driven carnage must end. The perpetrators must be brought to justice quickly.
People with albinism must be granted the same basic human rights of dignity, freedom and
security. UTSS will not rest until that day comes!

For interview requests, please email: media@underthesamesun.com or telephone: +604-587-6502.

Al-Shaymaa, Kimaya, announce they will run for parliament in the General Elections

This post was translated from Kiswahili by Jean Burke, a friend in the fight against albino killings

Presidentially appointed Member of Parliament, Al-Shaymaa John Kwegyir and Chair of the Albino Society of Tanzania, Ernest Kimaya, who are both people with albinism, have announced their intention to run for parliament in the next General Elections.

Talking with residents of Iringa town yesterday during celebrations for the National Day for People with Albinism in Tanzania held in the grounds of the city Gardens, Kimaya said that he intends to run for parliament in the Korogwe Rural province on a CCM ticket.

He stated he had reached this decision so as to fulfil this year’s slogan, which encourages people to come forward and compete.

This year’s slogan is: “Government Election, Albinos have the right to elect and be elected, Let’s come forward”.

In addressing these residents, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, said he’d been given hints by MP Kwegyir of her intention to run for special seats in Tanga. “She says she is grateful President Kikwete appointed her to parliament and now wants to gain special seats,” he stated.

Pinda called for all citizens including those with albinism, to come forward for election in various posts through their political parties.

He wants Tanzanians to realise that people with albinism have a big contribution to society especially if they are supported by fellow humans who don’t have this disability. The commemorations were also attended by representatives of people with albinism from more than 15 regions in the country.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Days for albino murderers numbered

THE Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, declared in Iringa on Tuesday that the days for albino killers are numbered. He was officiating at the National Albino Day marked at national level in the municipality.

Indeed he said that the government has mobilised itself to protect the safety of the albinos and make them live in peace, harmony and freedom in their country, like all other citizens. Why should other people who, out of avarice to become millionaires overnight, infringe upon the rights of others?

It is unfortunate that this should be happening despite the good moral foundations built by the nation’s founding fathers that earned this country much respect as a peaceful country all over the world.

This good image has in recent years been tainted by a few selfish and cruel individuals or group of people who out of their stupid superstitious belief Read More Here

Crusade against albino killings must continue

Article courtesy of The Guardian newspaper (Tanzania) 5th May, 2010

Yesterday, May 4 was a solemn day for Tanzanians. It was a day specifically set to remember fellow countrymen and women with albinism who have fallen victims to inhuman killings by people who still believe in superstitions and witchcraft.

It was a day meant to accord an opportunity to the government and the people of this country to undertake a deep assessment on whether they are on the path to taming the inhuman and shameful scourge of albino killings that have done a telling damage to the image of Tanzania.

But more importantly, it was a day on which the government and its people were required to rededicate their commitment to fully supporting people with albinism and safeguard their right to harmonious and threats-free livelihood

We are heartened to note that Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda who graced the occasion at the national commemorations held in Iringa made it clear to all and sundry that while the war against albino killers was not yet won, those who perpetrated the crime should know that their days are numbered.

The Premier told a mass rally that the government was committed to ensuring that albino killings remained history in the not distant future.

We, however, wish to remind Tanzanians that the government alone cannot win this war against cruelty by a human being against another. For this war to be won, there are many potential stakeholders who must be brought fully on-board.

One of the potential stakeholders are religious leaders who are essentially major opinion leaders in any society. They live and work with the people at the grassroots, and together with other influential people in society can tame the traditional healers who are the instigators of this heinous crime.

Religious leaders can also work with non-governmental organizations to preach love among human beings and openly tell those who cling to outdated witchcraft beliefs that albino body parts are not and will never be the wonder miracle to getting rich.

What must be underscored is that although significant steps have been made in the fight against albino killers, a lot remains to be done.

Figures released yesterday indicate that a total of 97,736 people were voted for in a nation-wide poll conducted last year to be involved in various criminal activities, including killing people living with albinism.

While investigations to determine the way forward are ongoing, a total of 3,217 suspected criminals are already in police hands, 295 had been arraigned while 106 have been sentenced on various crimes including involvement in albino killings.

However, only 11 cases involving suspected albino killers have been brought to court out of which three cases had ended with eight people being convicted and sentenced to death and investigations into other 27 incidents of albino killings are ongoing.

As we have had occasion to state, this is in no way a satisfactory performance. This calls for the need to strengthen investigative machinery into these cases of brutality against human beings. This should go hand in hand with mass sensitization that would wipe off the notion that one can get rich by chopping off the hand of a person living with albinism.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Another Albino attacked this week!

This Monday April 26th, Thirteen year old girl Kabula Nkalango of Luhaga village in Kahama, North-Western Tanzania (Lake Zone) was attacked by three men in her home as she was sleeping with her mother.

Her right hand was chopped off from just above the elbow and is now being treated at the Kahama District Hospital. Her condition is stable. Kahama District Commissioner, retired Major Bahati Matala speaking on the phone to UTSS (Under the Same Sun) Executive Director of Media and International Affairs said that the assailants from Bukombe terrorized the occupiers of the four houses in the compound, and committed the barbaric crime.

They then ordered the family to pour kerosene on the girl’s severed arm ‘to stop bleeding’. When they could not find kerosene, they broke into a shop nearby stole the liquid, handed it to the family members and sped off. Major Bahati informed UTSS Media that two other young men were also injured in the night attack as the machete and other weapons armed attackers raided a nearby shopping centre for cash, telephones and bicycles. Police manhunt is underway.

The hired attackers are told now to ensure that they do not kill the victims. Kabula's assailants told her mother, “Please do not blame us. We have been sent to get the arm.” So they made sure that Kabula does not bleed to death. No blood on their hands!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Albino murders return

This news article was translated by Jean Burke from Nipashe, a Kiswahili newspaper in Tanzania. It is about the recent killing of an albino child.

At the same time that the wave of murders against people with albinism has died down over recent months, a little girl of four years of age was murdered and her limbs cut off in the village of Kasebuzi, of Kitahana ward, Kibondo district in Kigoma Region.

The District commissioner of Kibondo, Danhi Makanga stated that the child who was murdered was Naimana Daudi who was taken in the dead of night by those killers after puncturing the wall and entering inside where she was asleep with her parents and other relatives.

He said after taking the girl and carrying her a distance of about six hundred meters the people cut off her left leg and arm then disappeared with those limbs and left the child bleeding so the body was found with lots of blood draining out.

Makanga who leads the security and safety committee of this district, has explained to hundreds of locals of the village that the government will hunt for those killers by all means and that this event has shocked the government because of the brutality carried out on this child.

Following this incident the district commissioner of Kibondo district called for a referendum right then and there in which locals participated to nominate people suspected of involvement and who often receive strange visitors in the village.

The child’s father, Daud Juma who also has another albino child aged one and a half years old said they were all sleeping in the room, and they didn’t know what was going on until the time of five in the morning when they wanted to wake the children up to pass water and then they discovered that their child was not inside.

When discussing this, with tears springing up, he said they started shouting for help and when the neighbours woke up they reported to the police who arrived and started working with the villagers following the stream of blood until they found the child’s body which had been abandoned with the left leg and arm cut off.

The head of investigations of Kigoma region, Joseph Konyo said that up to now three people, whose names are withheld, have been arrested by the Kigoma regional police force suspected of involvement in this incident.

This incident takes the number of people with albinism murdered in the Kigoma region since the year before last to reach four.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mengi calls for faster hearing of albino murder cases

...as Under the Same Sun (UTSS)launches documentary film on albino killings in the country

Story courtesy of The Guardian Newspaper, Tanzania (April 23, 2010)

IPP Executive Chairman Reginald Mengi has appealed to courts in Tanzania to speed up the hearing of cases involving suspected albino killers so that justice can be done.

He made the call at yesterday’s launch in Dar es Salaam of a documentary film on albino killings in the country prepared by a non-governmental organisation, Under the Same Sun (UTSS).

He said courts were supposed to speed up the process of dealing with cases involving the murder of albinos so that those targeted by the killers can also feel that they have rights just like people who have no disabilities.

“It is hugely unnerving seeing albinos being brutally killed and others having their hands and limbs chopped off, which is evidence of stigmatisation and discrimination in our society and a disgrace before the Lord,” said the IPP Executive Chairman.

He also urged human rights activists to fight for strict observance of the country’s laws, including the rights of people with albinism, and push for justice in all cases of suspected albino killers.

He wondered why albinos were being stigmatised instead of being loved, and called on society to seek an end to albino killings “in the knowledge that all human beings belong to God and have the right to live”.

“Every person is responsible for caring for albinos and stopping the stigmatisation and discrimination which have resulted in their vicious murders,” he said.

UTSS founder and chairman Peter Ash from Canada, currently on yet another working visit to Tanzania, concurred. He said people with skin disability had as much right to live as any other person and it would be totally unfair to stigmatise them.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Not enough done to protect albinos

Editorial courtesy of The Guardian Newspaper [20th April, 2010]

The spate of albino killings that have rocked the country since 2007 leading to the loss of an estimated 53 innocent lives have done a telling blow to the image of Tanzania to the extent that only a total and successful war against the perpetrators of this heinous crime can repair the damage.

By hunting down and killing persons with albinism in such brutal manner as chopping off their limbs in the belief that the body parts would give one supernatural powers to make quick riches have made Tanzanians be perceived as a society of 21st century savages.

It is an unfortunate position we have found ourselves in as a nation, but which we believe we can disentangle ourselves from if we make hard decisions and execute them decisively.

The actions we have in mind are those that will act as a deterrent against further attacks on the innocent people whose only ‘crime’ is the colour of their skin.

It is precisely because of the need to bring to an end these atrocities that people all over the country had warmly received the February 1, 2010 court ruling in which four men were sentenced to death for albino killings.

The expectations of many people then were that the court ruling would discourage further violent acts being carried out against albinos.

Disappointedly, this has not been the case, and as the President of a Canada-based Non-Governmental Organisation, Peter Ash said over the weekend the killings are now moving closer to the country’s business capital Dar es Salaam which has hitherto been seen as a safe haven for those running away from the dangerous areas in the rural areas.

The Canadian who heads an NGO named Under the Sun (UTSS) and which is committed to the welfare of persons with albinism in Tanzania is of the view that the government has been rather slow in dealing with cases of albino killings.

We agree with Ash’s observation, since the truth remains that out of the 61 cases of albino killings reported in different courts in the country, there are only two convictions so far. At this speed we wonder how long it would take to see justice not only being done but also seen to be done.

We wish to call on the government to speed up the prosecution of all the pending cases. This we believe will act as a deterrent against those who believe they can kill people at will and go scot free.

Most worrying is that the judicial procedures are moving at a snail’s pace when fresh perpetrations are now being reported in areas such as Morogoro and Coast regions, with fears that Dar es Salaam may sooner than later be another scene of man-to-man brutality.

We therefore join UTSS and other stakeholders in appealing to the government not to backtrack on its obligation to provide additional security to people with albinism because it is now evident that they are still targeted for their body parts.

We also wish to commend the Canadian NGO for targeting nine regions to support education for people with albinism and call on other local and international institutions to emulate this goodwill.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Albinos still under threat

News story courtesy of The Guardian Newspaper, Tanzania (12th April, 2010)

*Man`s palm chopped off by alleged Maasai pastoralists

*It is Morogoro region`s first case since albino killings started


A shocking reminder that people with albinism were still at risk, Maasai pastoralists are alleged to have cut off the palm of a man suffering from the skin disorder in Morogoro Region on Saturday.

The incident which occurred at around 4.15pm at Kibaoni village, Melela ward in Mvomero district, left Said Abdalah (41) without a palm on the left hand.

He was rushed to Morogoro Regional Hospital where he is being treated for the wounds sustained in the attack.

Morogoro Regional Commissioner Issa Machibya confirmed the incident, saying police have launched a manhunt for the attackers.

Machibya said it was the first time an albino was being attacked in the region since the attacks and killings started around the country in 2007, leading to the killings of more than 40 albinos for their body parts and organs.

Police in the region were working hard to arrest the alleged attackers, according the Regional Police Commander Thobias Andengenye when contacted by The Guardian.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Abdallah said he was attacked by four machete-wielding people who had followed him to his farm.

The people carrying machete and sticks hit him on the head, rendering him unconscious, before cutting off his palm.

When he regained consciousness, he was shocked to find his palm missing. He was also bleeding profusely.

“I started crying for help, attracting the attention of a woman passing by the farm, who took me home,” said Abdallah.

However when he reached home he was not able to get any First Aid because he lived alone.

The chairman of Kibaoni hamlet, Asikile Yuda and Good Samaritans helped him to get to hospital for treatment after reporting to the central police where Abdalah was issued with a PF3 Form.

Abdallah said that he had earlier been threatened by pastoralists when he warned them against passing with their livestock through his farm because they destroyed crops.

He said that many pastoralists had invaded the village threatening farmers while their livestock destroyed crops in the farms.

The Secretary General of Tanzania Albino Association Ziada Nsembo said albinos were still unsafe because the attacks had stopped for about eight months but it seems that they had resurfaced.

“Those people who are attacking albinos seem not to fear anything because the death penalty against those who have killed albinos has not been carried out,” she said.

Nsembo said his association was requesting the government to implement the court ruling so that it may serve as a deterrent against those planning to carry out similar acts.

The Morogoro Regional Commissioner, Issa Machibya told The Guardian that the region’s defence and security committee had started discussing the matter to look for ways to arrest the problem before more killings occurred.

He said he had been alerted over looming albino killings and had taken the matter seriously.

“We will heighten vigilance and make sure all albinos in the region are safe and all those planning to attack them are arrested,” the RC said.

For his part, the Kibaoni hamlet chairperson, Yuda said that he had received the complaints and was working on them.

He said that he and his men had carried out a search but they were not able to locate the missing palm.

He noted that it was the first incident to occur in their village despite prevailing bad blood between farmers and pastoralists.

He said that with the help of the government, they would strengthen security in the village in order to arrest the culprits and reassure the albinos who now feared for the lives.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Albino child attacked with machete while on mother’s back

This article first appeared in Nipashe(a Kiswahili newspaper)on 13th February, 2010 and was translated into English by Jean Burke

An albino infant Fatuma Khalfani (1) was admitted to Tumbi hospital of the Coast region after being seriously injured on her left leg by people suspected of being traders of albino-body parts.

According to the mother, Rukia Khalfani (32), resident of Ruvu of Bagamoyo district, the incident took place at the end of last week when she was outside her home at about 9 pm whilst carrying her child on her back.

Rukia said that when outside, she was suddenly attacked with machetes on her back where her child was being carried, which injured her child on the thigh.
She said she cried out for help but the person attacked with the machete again injuring her child behind the left knee.

"I ran inside but that person, wearing Maasai clothes, continued to follow and hit me with an axe on my thigh and face and then my husband, Mohamed Hussein,who was inside the house, went outside and looked around everywhere but couldn’t see anyone.

She said they then rang the police and went to the Teule hospital for treatment.
Rukia, mother of five children of whom two are albino, has appealed to the government to consider the possibility of renting a room for them outside the area because she is frightened to return to her house due to the frequent threats following the recent emerging wave of albino murders.

"We are progressing well with treatment, and I thank the nurses and doctors, but I fear that when I am discharged, I don’t know where I will go. I am very scared to return. My house is behind a large forest, so I am not at peace because there have been frequent threats that I and my child could be killed."

The Police Commander of the Coast region, Absalom Mwakyoma, said police are investigating this incident to find out whether the attacker was an albino-murderer or an armed robber.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Two caught selling albino body parts

POLICE in Kagera Region have arrested two people who were allegedly looking for a customer of albino body parts.

Kagera Regional Police Commander (RPC) Henry Salewi told reports in Bukoba that the suspects were arrested with the human body parts....

''The suspects were arrested on Wednesday (February 3). The arrest was made after police got a tip that two residents of Ngara were looking for someone to buy albino body parts"...


...there is an international
criminal network involving suspects in Tanzania and neighbouring Burundi...


Read the Rest Here

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

ALBINO KILLINGS: Obama asked to put pressure on Kikwete

Mariamu Stanford talking to a journalist

An American Congressman wants President Barack Obama to put diplomatic pressure on the Kikwete Government to end the albino killings in parts of the country...

The American politician is using the opportunity to raise international attention on the menace in Tanzania, in which over 50 albinos have been killed in the last four years in an orgy fuelled by witchcraft-related beliefs. Some 28 albinos were slaughtered in 2008 alone, according to official government figures...

During her stay in the US, Mariamu and fellow albinos from Northern Virginia met with Mr Connolly, who pledged to introduce a House Resolution, condemning the attacks on people with albinism in East Africa, and to work with American and Tanzanian government officials to stop the killings.

Mariamu travelled to the US last December for two weeks and was fitted with artificial arms donated by Mr Elliot Weintrob of Orthotic Prosthetic Centre in Fairfax, Virginia, and she also underwent intensive physical therapy.

She also met Ms Susan DuBois, who has since formed an organisation in her name and dedicated it to ending the slaughter of people with albinism in East Africa.

The "Asante Mariam" organisation launched in Virginia last week will campaign to increase awareness of the immediate and long-term threats to albinos East Africa.

"As a mother of two children with albinism, I was deeply shaken when I first heard about the killings in Tanzania," said Ms DuBois, the founder and executive director of "Asante Mariamu."




Read the Rest of the ARTICLE HERE

Read Also


Read how this blog first told the Mariam Stanford tragedy

Monday, February 1, 2010

In My Genes [Trailer]

Documentary by Lupita Nyong'o

IN MY GENES Trailer from Lupita Nyong'o on Vimeo.

Life, for Mariam Stanford, will never be the same again

Story courtesy of The Guardian on Sunday (31st January, 2010)
The 28-year-old woman whose hands were chopped off in a gruesome albino attack in October 2008 is currently in the United States undergoing treatment to receive prosthetic arms.

Mariam Stanford has suffered tremendous strife since thugs left her for dead in her home in Ntubeye village, Ngara district, and made off with her hands, presumably to sell on the black market to those who believe albino body parts bring good luck.

The most basic daily activities that most take for granted are now arduous procedures for Stanford, requiring tremendous patience and poise.

For example, to make a phone call, she slowly places her lips to her cell phone like someone preparing to kiss a lover, and she then dials the number using her mouth before maneuvering the phone to her ears to listen.

Stanford, the mother of a 3-year-old son, now depends on her mother for help doing most things around the house, she said in a recent interview.

"I can't feed myself, I can't wash myself, can't cook or farm,” she said, glancing at the remains of hands. "My life will never be the same again.”

Although Stanford was suffering when she spoke with The Guardian on Sunday just a couple of months ago, a ‘good Samaritan’ flew her to the United States in early December to receive treatment and prosthetic arms, she said. She is expected to return to Tanzania early next month with fully functional mechanical hands.

But no amount of medical treatment will erase the memory of Stanford’s attack that night, on October 18, 2008. Stanford, who was three months pregnant at the time, had eaten dinner with her family before wishing them a good night like any other nights, but little did she know that one of her neighbours was planning to kill her that night.

“What pains me more is that the very same neighbour who has lived near me for years is the one who did this to me,” Stanford said. “Though as a Christian I am taught to forgive seven times seventy, whenever I look at my chopped hands, it becomes very hard for me to forgive those who attacked me. Hopefully God will judge them one day in heaven.”

Though she had been horrified by the killings of albinos that had been escalating in Tanzania's Lake Victoria region, Stanford had never imagined that her neighbour whom she had known for two decades, would see her body as a source of profit.

In her tiny grass-roofed and mud-built house, Stanford locked the doors and went to bed with her two younger sisters and her son, expecting to wake up safely in the morning ready to continue with daily activities.

But on that day her name was on the killers' list who were promised Shs 6 million ($4400) if they could manage to get away with Stanford’s body organs.

"It was around 1am or midnight when I heard people knocking roughly on my door, before they managed to get inside my house," she recalled.

"I tried to cry for help but suddenly my eyes met a sharp torch's light...I saw my neighbour holding a bush knife which he used to attack me."

"He cut my left hand — I cried for help but fell down on the floor before he cut my right hand," Stanford said. “I saw my death coming...I tried to shout loudly for my parents, but no one came."

"I didn't know that when my attacker entered my room, the others had surrounded my parents' house to ensure that nobody came to help me," she said.

After the killers left with Stanford’s hands, her parents finally rushed into her house ready to help, but they were shocked to find her lying in a pool of her own blood.

"I told them that I know my attacker...he is our neighbour," she said. "My parents quickly went to his home and found this man trembling with fresh blood stains on his clothes...they arrested and beat him but he declined to disclose who his accomplices were."

It took nearly five hours to get Stanford to the nearby hospital for treatment. She suffered a miscarriage because of the ordeal.

“That’s how I escaped from hell,” she said as she finished her harrowing account, adding that she is disappointed that over a year since she was attacked the suspects are yet to be convicted. The albino attacks may have stopped recently, but the devastation they have caused still haunts hundreds of victims and their families.

Stanford’s biggest fear is that some of the suspects, who are currently out of jail, may return to kill her before they stand to testify in court in the next few months.

“These are very powerful people who have money…I still fear that they might come after me one day,” she said. “Look at where I live right now, there’s nothing that can stop them from reaching me except God…I have left everything to God.”

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Anyone out there?

There are times I feel like a lone ranger when I am doing this blog. Why? You may ask. I think it is the feeling that there is very little that seems to be done about the prejudices people have of albinos.

It is a crazy feeling altogether, but I guess I am speaking my mind when I say this. People seem not to care about what our brothers and sisters, the albinos, are going through in Tanzania.

I would expect people to have changed by now, but the animosity continues and as someone rightly said: “It is not over until it is over.” I think that is true judging from what is happening on the ground.

Being a teacher, I meet with different people. People with different perspectives; people with different ways of looking at things. And, sometimes, I feel helpless when the children I teach tell me things that they were told by their parents about albinos.

And I can assure you that most of the stuff that children are told by their parents is not good. They are told to hate albinos; to look down upon them and to call them names.

In fact, some of them admitted to me that they wouldn’t be comfortable if their parents knew that they had talked to someone about what they were told.

Is there anyone out there who can talk sense to such parents, parents who "wreck" their children’s lives by poisoning them with the drivel that albinos are to be avoided like the plague. Please someone drum some sense into such people.

Is there really anyone out there?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Help needed: School struggles to educate Albino children

Some of the pupils at Mitindo Primary School in Misungwi District, Mwanza Region


The school needs special textbooks for blind pupils and those with impaired vision due to albinism. Mr Hirani says that there was need for increased campaign locally to encourage people support less fortunate members of the society, including albino children. Albinos need hats and sunglasses to protect them from the sun. They also need lotion to avoid damage of their delicate skin.


People can effectively support albino youths upon proper mobilisation. There are reports that the nation is currently spending up to 90bn/- annually on weddings and other profligate activities.



AT the age of 16 years, Richard Feruzi, a boy from Ilemela District in Mwanza Region, dreams of being a politician cum human rights activist.

Richard, is an albino and in Standard Seven at Mitindo Primary School in Misungwi District, some 40kms south of Mwanza city.

He has already composed dozens of songs in condemnation of perpetrators of killings of albinos and several others in praise of the leadership of the country.

"I can play a big role in global campaigns against discrimination in whatever its form, as well as promotion of peace and love," says Richard, who has been a pupil at Mitindo since 2004.

He says that the Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda and the National Assembly Speaker, Mr Samuel Sitta, were among the people whom have inspired him to become a politician.

Richard is one of 105 pupils with albinism at Mitindo special centre in Misungwi district, which was initially established in 1956 as a middle school before becoming an upper primary school in 1967.

Mitindo Primary School Head teacher, Mr Juma Abdallah, says it introduced vocational training in 1975, some three years later it started to admit blind pupils and in 1989 began to enrol those with albinism.

Mr Abdallah adds recently that the school was currently having a total of 1,134 pupils, out of them 86 in pre-school classes and six on vocational training programmes like masonry and carpentry.

He says out of 147 disabled pupils, 42 were blind and the rest were those with albinism. The headmaster lists several challenges faced by the school including the influx of pupils during the last three years, following increased killings of albinos, since many parents brought their children to the centre for security purposes....

WORD FOR JOURNALISTS...
Can the media investigate this place and make the public know about its authenticity. The only person who has pursued Shilinde story is Vicky Ntetema of the BBC, but unfortunately the Tanzanian media has not seen Vicky as a hero, and thus collaborate with her in the fight against albino killings.


Vicky went to Magu where she was told that the Gambusi Kuzimu had vanished many years ago, but if she wanted to see it, the heavies in the witchcraft could give her some medicine which will lead her into the village which Shilinde who wants to be called Daniel now says they have all professionals, all means of transport and everything you would find in a modern city.

The task of Tanzanian journalists is to find the witchdoctors who are peddling albino killings and not looking for the city of wizardry.
Read the Rest Here

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Religious denominations condemn albino murders

Islamic and Christian denominations within the country have strongly condemned murders of albinos and the elderly. They said people who perpetrate such killings are sick in the head and want them to stop such notions immediately.

From discussion yesterday in Dar es Salaam in the conference organised by Muslim and Christian followers, leaders of these religions joined together in declaring cooperation with the Government in fighting the war against these murders.

At this conference, Evangelist Moses Ndimbo from the Evangelists Fellowship of Tanzania, said there is no short-cut to becoming wealthy and that the only way to accumulate wealth is to work hard: there is no other way.

He said the act of traditional healers deceiving citizens that they will gain wealth by killing albinos and the elderly is unacceptable because there is no truth at all that success follows from killing a person.

“I request the Government to cancel all permits and boards of traditional healers and ban the display of such boards, which motivate citizens to go to the healer,” he said.
For his part, Dr. Sule Seif from the National Muslim Council of Tanzania (BAKWATA), was astonished to see people believing superstitious beliefs in this century of science and technology.

He said Muslims and Christians will work together to eliminate these acts and have prepared strategies to go throughout the whole country educating citizens about what God says about murder and murderers.

On giving a word of thanks, Treasurer of the Albino Association of Tanzania, Abdilah Abdular, congratulated these efforts and asked religious leaders to preach especially in village areas unreached by religion.

“Many healers have no religion and that’s why they are able to advise such brutality, I ask religious leaders to reach village areas where many of them are so they can know God.” he said.

Monday, January 4, 2010

District Commissioner orders a count of all albinos

Translated from Nipashe Newspaper by Jean Burke

The district commissioner of Lindi, Magalula Said Magalula, has directed division and ward officers to list the number of all albino people, with the aim of enabling the government to plan strategies to protect their safety.

Magalula gave this instruction, when opening the meeting of the Lindi district advisory committee, conducted in the council hall of Lindi village, on 23rd December last year.

He said, due to the brutal acts carried out against albinos, there is a need for district leadership to have accurate statistics, including understanding where albinos live, and the parents, relatives and neighbours who live with them.

Magalula stated the purpose in carrying out this census, apart from knowing their situation with regards to security, is a result of suspicions that some parents, relatives and neighbours cooperate with murderers in killing albinos out of greed for money.

He said that having a complete register available will help this government district one way or another, to know where albinos live, the security of their situation and to see how the government can assist their protection or when they encounter problems.

Since the wave of albino murders has erupted in the country, the death of one albino has taken place in Lindi district. The body was found floating in Lukuledi river one year ago.

Lindi Region, is estimated to have more than 700,000 residents, and it is claimed to have more than 170 albinos.