Witch Doctors in Tanzania Accused of Killing Albinos for Magical Body Parts

180px-lassa_witch_doctorsAs we have been following on this blog, witch doctors in Africa continue to cause great suffering and abuses, here and here and here and here. Now, there is a report from Tanzania that witch doctors have caused the slaughter of more than 50 albinos for their body parts.

In a particularly horrific case, one albino woman only escaped after her hands were cut off. Albino body parts are used in potions by witch doctors.

In neighboring Burundi, at least 12 albinos have been killed for their organs and body parts.

Of course, such primitive beliefs are found in other countries, here and even in the United States, here.

For the full story, click here.

14 thoughts on “Witch Doctors in Tanzania Accused of Killing Albinos for Magical Body Parts

  1. American Greed last week on CNBC had a segment about a former dentist who went into the business of skinning bodies and removing bones in funeral homes, with forged familial permissions, to sell the by products to bio medical firms that used them for producing “skin” and bones for use in operations. The harvesting of humans, given the advances in medicine, is becoming a world wide phenomena. It will get much, much worse. Imagine a billionaire, dying from liver cancer and that person’s ability to pay enough to obtain one through any means. At the risk of being denounced as a socialist I’m coming to believe that the profit motive needs to be taken out of health care, lest we become a society that makes pre-revolution France or Russia look like welfare states.

  2. Mike–

    I remember a few years ago when there was a scandal about body snatchers who were part of a criminal ring removing bones from the corpse of Alistair Cooke–who had died of lung disease…which had spread to his bones. The bones were evidently sold to a company that supplied parts for dental implants and other orthopedic procedures.

    I wonder if the former dentist you write about was part of that criminal ring.

  3. Elaine,
    I’m not sure but I think it was another ring. This one was based in Brooklyn and New Jersey. Another interesting aspect of the story was that a harvest from a single human body could be worth up to $100,000. Also this ring harvested things like skin from AIDS, Syphilitic and cancerous patients. forging the death certificates and thus putting the recipients at risk. The bio-tech companies that bought this stuff had no quality control, or interest in the safety of what they were buying. The need was too great and the profits too great for any of those “dainty” considerations. Health care for profit is health care corrupted.

  4. Mike: I’m not sure I follow. Don’t we already have laws prohibiting organ trade. And even if we didn’t, you honestly think a billionaire dying of liver cancer willing to buy an organ by any means necessary won’t buy one off the black market? How is that possibly going to change by “removing the profit motive” from health care?

    All in all, yours is by far the strangest argument (and possibly the least pursuasive of all time) in favor of nationalizing health care.

  5. I grew up in the DRC where we were told extraordinary stuff about albinos, like no one has ever seen one die, they just disappear! But then, when my childhood friend died, of skin-related disease (it might have been skin cancer), then I realized that those rumors were just “jungle legend”… A few months ago, in Kinshasa, people went on rampage lynching Angolans, Nigerians, and other West-Africans. The police had to threaten to shoot lynching mobs on sight if they attacked those African immigrants to cool down the city. What set the mobs on those other Africans was the rumor that the latter had “jujus” that made penises disappear by just brushing against you in the streets!… In 1965, Che Guevara went to the Congo with a contingent of black Cubans to prop up the rebellion against the central government. While in the bush in eastern Congo, Che Guevara realized that the rebels believed they had some “dawa” (juju) to turn bullets into water (even the most educated cadres believed that). And that if you were wounded or died during an engagement, it was because you broke some taboo. As he and his Cubans didn’t go through that ritual, Che Guevara was afraid the locals would blame them for any failed attacks!… In South Africa, people think that by raping a baby or an elderly woman, you’ve got yourself protection against HIV! I mean, the stupidity we still cling to in Africa. As I said, it’s not just the illiterates that believe that BS; even Western-educated technocrats buy into that BS!…

  6. I think that Prez Obamer should ambassadorize the pasty white-skinned Dick Cheney to investigate this matter in person as a spayshall envoy to the hinterlands of Tanzania.

    On second thought, I do not think I could bear viewing Cheney’s shrunken head—send George W. Bush instead…

  7. Parts is parts. Rituals wherever they may be had. When congress goes in to work are people really any less safe?

  8. D.D. Driver,
    Nothing bizarre at all about my argument. Here it is the easy way.

    1. The sole purpose of a corporation is to make and maximize profits for its shareholders.

    2. Given that corporations have shown that they hold profits above people’s needs.

    3. A health care system of necessity should focus solely on providing the best care for a patient.

    4. 3. Above is impossible for a corporation since it violates #1.

    5. For profit corporations cannot supply patient centered health care by definition.

  9. FF LEO–

    I thought that was Cheney on the right in the photo–after he’d been tarred and feathered by an angry mob of progressives and people of conscience. Not sure who the person of the left is…maybe Bush or Rove or Donny Rumsfeld. Or could it be Alan Greenspan???

  10. From the Article:

    “Witch doctors pretend to be able to heal people through their superstitions. Exposing them as frauds would be easy to do. The first step is the promotion of reason over superstition. And the first step in doing this is to stop giving respect to something that doesn’t deserve it. In this case that would be the unreasonable beliefs and practices of the witch doctors. The finishing blow would be concrete examples of failures on the part of the witch doctors while showing successes on the part of medical healing.”


    Somebody distinguish the thought process between the Tanzanian Witch Doctors and the Hausers? The former murder innocents in homage to their gods and to heal; the latter sacrifice their child in the same cause. Anyone want to judge who is worse?

  11. This is an African example of how far religous nonsense can be taken. Since I am a pasty Caucasian of Irish/Swedish/German descent, I wonder if I could be mistaken for an albino!

  12. A Kenyan witch doctor drove the demons out of Sarah Palin to ensure that she would become governor of Alaska.

    However, they are back.

  13. I read some of your previous posts about albinos and witch burnings. I think sometimes I’d rather not know how terribly cruel people can be to other humans.

    Look at how some our own leaders have condoned torture and extraordinary renditions. Are we really so far removed from the witch doctors of Tanzania?

    I think what disturbs me in our country today is the incendiary rhetoric some people listen to on talk radio and TV. I think some of these talk show hosts and folks like Beck delight in agitating listeners and getting people riled up and angry–and sometimes these people who are yelling at town halls and participating in protests can’t really explain why they’re for or against certain issues. Too many Americans are becoming dittoheads.

    I bet nothing will stop folks like Limbaugh until they incite a modern-day hysteria akin to the one that gripped Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692.

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