Children of Kenyan member of parliament, Isaac Mwaura, who almost lost their lives to ritual killers in Tanzania. The killers believe that body parts of those with albinism brings good fortune and wealth. (Photo: Isaac Mwaura)
Tanzania has one of the world’s highest albinism rates. However, people there who have the condition fear for their lives. Video provided by Newsy Newslook
Many women are living in fear in this rural part of northwestern Tanzania because they are increasingly being targeted by witch hunts — literally.
This East African country is grappling with an upswing in vigilante justice as villagers attack women they believe are witches responsible for the murders of albinos, whose white skin some believe possess magical powers.
Last month, some 200 angry villagers — mostly youths carrying axes, machetes and knives — grabbed Jane Faidha Bakari, 58, in Tabora, hacked her with sharp weapons and burned her alive while her helpless husband watched.
“They came around midnight banging on the door,” said Moses Bakari, her husband. “They broke into the house and hacked my wife with machetes and knives. They burned the body of my wife and later set fire on my house. They claimed that my wife was practicing witchcraft and killing albinos.”
The villagers believed the woman was using body parts from albinos — people born with the absence of pigment in their skin, eyes and hair — to practice witchcraft. Bakari fled with his three children and took refuge in a neighbor’s house.
“I neither knew nor heard that my wife was practicing witchcraft,” Bakari said. “I still don’t believe that I lost my wife to such a painful death. I will only heal if justice is done, because she was innocent.”
The murder of Bakari’s wife isn’t uncommon. Frightened neighbors-cum-vigilantes lynched, stoned or hacked more than 1,000 women to death last year, according to the Center for Advocacy in Rural Development, a Kenyan development group, and the Dar es Salaam-based Legal and Human Rights Center. The groups estimate more than 3,000 suspected witches, usually late middle-age and older women, were killed in the past six years alone.READ MORE