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
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
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
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!
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