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"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."

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

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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 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.