Archive for "Albino"

Voters Head to the Polls in Malawi; Accused Albino Killers on Trial

May 20th, 2009

Voters Head to the Polls in Malawi 
Millions of voters cast their ballots Tuesday in Malawi’s general election, reports the BBC. The nation is electing a president and a new parliament. While there are seven presidential candidates, most consider to two main contenders being current President Bingu Wa Mutharika and John Tembo leader of the Malawi Congress Party. With a large voter turnout (6 million votes cast at nearly 4,000 polls) many are expecting the results to be close. The results of the vote are expected by Thursday. Mutharika’s predecessor, Bakili Muluzi (who has already served two terms as president) recently threw his support behind Tembo after a court ruled he could not run for a third term, reports the news service. Because of a disagreement with Muluzi, his former supporter, Mutharika quit the United Democratic Front to form his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party in 2005.
 
 

Accused Albino Killers on Trial
Eleven people accused of killing 12 albinos are on trial in Burundi, reports the BBC. All of the defendants have denied murder charges and if they are found guilty, they face life in prison. In recent months, murders of albinos in East African nations have increased, with 50 people losing their lives, BBC reports. Albino body parts taken from Burundi are sold in nearby Tanzania, authorities say. Witchdoctors have claimed that potions that include albino body parts will bring clients success and good luck. While officials in Burundi are starting to crack down on the killings, more can be done says an organization fighting for albino rights.

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World: Six-Year-Old Killed For Her Body Parts; Powerful Quake Hits Panama Overnight

November 19th, 2008

Six-year-old girl killed for her body parts. In East Africa’s Burundi, a 6-year-old albino girl was found brutally murdered, with her head and limbs cut off, reports the BBC.  The day of the killing, attackers broke into her home, tied up her parents and shot her in the head, said local officials. Killing albinos for their body parts has become a disturbing trend in the country as well as in neighboring Tanzania because witchdoctors have claimed their limbs can be for magic potions. But this was not always the case in Burundi. According to Kasim Kazungu, who heads Burundi Albinos’ Association, albinos were not a target until word got out about the money they could make from selling body parts in Tanzania. And, recently, a man in Tanzania was arrested for trying to sell his albino wife to traders from Congo. This is the sixth albino person in Burundi killed since September.   
Powerful quake hits Panama overnight. An earthquake measuring 6.2 in magnitude shook Panama overnight, reports Reuters. It hit at 1:11 a.m. local time about 35 miles from David, Panama. While tremors were felt in the capital of neighboring Costa Rica, there are no immediate reports of damage there, according to the nation’s emergency commission. People in Panama, who called into a local radio station, said they felt the quake intensely along with several aftershocks. Another caller, who said he was a Red Cross worker, reported that there wasn’t any signs of major structural damage or landslides near the quake’s epicenter, reports Reuters.

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World: Tanzanian Husband Tries to Sell Albino Wife; World isn’t Doing Enough to Help Congo, Says Agency

November 14th, 2008

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Tanzanian husband tries to sell his albino wife. Police caught a man in Tanzania trying sell his albino wife for $3,000, reports the BBC. He allegedly tried to make the sale to two businessmen from Congo, police say. His wife (who’s not pictured) did not know she was about to be sold. Albinos have been a target for killings in the country, mainly because many witchdoctors claim that albino body parts make their magic potions stronger. Police arrested the husband, a fisherman, after receiving a tip. The businessmen, though, escaped and are thought to have returned to their native country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tanzania has asked the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to help find them. Just since March, at least 27 albinos have been murdered in the country. Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has ordered a crackdown on such killings, and 170 witchdoctors have been arrested as a result. The condition affects about 1 in 20,000 people all over the world, but it seems like the figure is much higher in Tanzania. According to the Albino Association of Tanzania, while there are only 4,000 registered albinos in the nation, there could actually be as many as 173,000. The nation is conducting a census to find out what the real number is.


The world isn’t doing enough to help Congo, says agency. When it comes to helping out with the crisis in Congo, the world is dragging its feet, said Oxfam International head Juliette Prodhan. The latest fighting in the nation, between government troops and rebels lead by Tutsi Gen. Laurent Nkunda, has caused 250,000 people to flee from their homes. “There appears to be no urgency in the international community’s talks on the crisis, but this is a deeply urgent situation. The world is failing in its responsibility to protect the Congo’s innocent civilians,” Prodhan said in a written statement, reports CNN. The refugee camps to which many flee are in poor shape, with constant outbreaks of disease due to unsanitary conditions. Workers from Oxfam have visited camps across the Democratic Republic of Congo and found that “civilians continue to face widespread brutality.” Rape and forced labor are also prevalent throughout the nation and are on the rise. There are United Nations peacekeepers in Congo, but they have been ineffective in stopping violence. In total, the country has 17,000 international peace troops and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked the European Union to send in 3,000 troops. With the country’s suffering, Oxfam is teaming up with other organizations to provide help. “It’s a traumatized population of people who didn’t have very much. They’ve been on the road now for weeks, and they’ve lost everything they have, and they’re in a very vulnerable situation,” Oxfam spokesman Chris Black told the news service.

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World: Tanzania Announces Crackdown on Albino Murders; Europeans Will Give the Caribbean Over $212 million

October 24th, 2008

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Tanzania announces crackdown on albino murders. On the same day a 10-year-old albino girl was murdered and mutilated, the government of Tanzania announced a crackdown on those who kill albinos and sell their body parts, reports the AFP. Sorcerers buy the body parts of albinos intending to use them in good luck potions. The girl was murdered just a few hours after the country’s president, Jakaya Kikwete, announced a heightened crackdown on these killings saying they have “stained the country’s good image.” And the notion that albino body parts can bring good luck is just ridiculous and lazy, he said at a rally put on by the Tanzania Albino Society (TAS). “It is utterly stupid for some people to believe that albinos have magic powers and their parts can make the rich,” he said. “People should be provided with education to understand that it is only through hard working that they can prosper in life and not through selling albinos’ body parts.” But murders of albinos in the east African nation, 26 just this year (mostly women and children), are a problem. Last year it was even reported that some people were digging up graves of albino infants to remove body parts of ritual potions. And TAS leader, Ernest Kimaya, doesn’t think authorities are doing enough to stop the tragedies. “We are yet to witness any convictions and incidents; murder of albinos are on the rise,” he said. “I have a case of one albino woman who has been hiding for more than three months after her sister was killed. This is a very serious case. We are calling upon the government to address the problem.” Kikwete said 47 thought to be involved with albino killings have been arrested this year. There are about 150,000 albinos in the country; some families murder albino babies when they are born. An albino appointed to the nation’s parliament on a special seat is confident the murderers will be captured. “The criminals involved in these superstitious networks should know that their days are numbered,” Al Shaymaa Kwegyr said.

Europeans will give the Caribbean over $212 million. In an effort to help development in the region, the European Commission (EC) is set to donate over $212 million (165 million Euros) to the Caribbean, reports Caribbean News Net. The money will be placed in the European Development Fund (EDF) Regional Program for the Caribbean.  The aid was discussed during a European Partnership Agreement (EPA) meeting in Antigua. The money will go towards the Caribbean’s e-commerce, cultural industries and trade among other areas, according to CARIFORUM-EU-EPA negotiator Karl Falkenberg. And, according to Antigua’s Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, the cash flow won’t stop there. At a recent meeting, Caribbean countries will also get some of the two billion Euros reserved for the World Trade Organization. “Recognizing that the traditional pool of EDF resources available to the region will have to be augmented, the EC and its member states have committed making available to CARIFORUM countries an equitable share of the 2 billion Euros set aside for ‘Aid for Trade.’ Signing the EPA will immediately pave the way for engaging the EC in respect of access to those funds.”

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World: Albinos in Burundi Fear For Their Lives; Thieves Steal Food From Haiti’s Needy

October 3rd, 2008

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Albinos in Burundi fear for their lives.

Albinos in the east African nation of Burundi have left their homes over fears they will be killed by people wanting to sell their body parts in nearby Tanzania.  At least four are currently under the watch of police in Ruyigi, reports the BBC. The actions come after an Albino girl was murdered in August and after two murdered albinos were found with their legs and arms missing. There have been 26 albinos killed in Tanzania in under a year. Witchdoctors, who believe they use albino body parts to create potions to make people rich, are thought to be behind the bizarre killings. In fact, after the killing of a teen albino, six of her attackers came back to the murder scene to get her body parts. After they were arrested, they told police they wanted to sell her parts in Tanzania. There are an estimated 200 albinos currently living in Burundi.

Thieves steal food from Haiti’s needy. Thieves recently stole food that was supposed to go to Haiti’s storm victims and tried to sell it, reports Reuters. Authorities in the nation devastated by four back-to-back tropical storms, raided three storehouses of the stolen food on Tuesday. Officials were tipped off by residents who were upset that rice, that was supposed to be free for people who needed it, ended up being sold for profit. “A lot of people were buying the rice because it was much cheaper compared to prices on the regular market. You can read on the bag ‘Donated by Taiwan’ and on some other bags we read, ‘U.S. Rice,” said Yvon Jerome, mayor of Carrefour, the city where the crime took place. The food will be given out to needy families again, the mayor said. The consecutive storms that battered Haiti, which was already the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, killed at least 800 people and left almost the entire town of Gonaives under water. Police are still investigating and looking for suspects in the food thievery but are still unsure how big the operation was.

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