There is a highly disturbing, and disgusting, story out of Tanzania involving the systemic killing of albinos to eat their hair and flesh as part of African medicines. What is most striking disclosure is that witch doctors are behind the murders and have been found to pay $600, in one case, for the severed arm of a young girl. Yet, despite over 70 such murders, only 10 have resulted in charges because (according to some in the country) powerful families believe in and use albino medicines prepared by witch doctors.
The plight of these some 30,000 albinos is almost too horrific to contemplate. With all of the poverty and hunger and disease in the country, they also have to worry about witch doctors sending thugs to cut off their limbs or kill them for folk medicine. Given the high cost of albino medicines, it is the wealthiest families that are fueling the crimes in the view of activists. Witch doctors are actually licensed in Tanzania and these medicines are widely viewed as holding powerful mythical qualities.
The general view that powerful families are deterring efforts to investigate and prosecute these offenses is particularly troubling. It brings to mind the continued importations of endangered species body parts to China with the support of powerful Chinese. However, this involves the murder and digestion of human beings as part of the same type of primitive mythologies.