Tanzanian albinos said Sunday they were living in fear of their lives after the remains of an albino were exhumed in what they said was a “bestial” and “barbaric” act.
The Tanzanian Albino Society called on President John Magufuli to “intervene personally and denounce this bestial act and provide financial support for programmes aimed at eradicating this barbarism against albinos.”
The remains of Aman Anywelwisye Kalyembe, an albino buried in 2015 in the Rungwe district of the Mbeya region in the south of the country, were exhumed and moved by unidentified individuals during the night of April 23 and 24, the society said.
The incident was “fuelling fear among albinos and their families,” it said in a statement.
It attributed such actions to “superstitious beliefs at a time when we are preparing for (general) elections in 2020.”
Tanzania’s human rights campaigners say that the number of attacks against albinos is in sharp decline, but their graves are increasingly being desecrated instead and their remains exhumed.
At least 75 albinos were estimated killed in Tanzania between 2000 and 2015, according to the United Nations, which says that number is just a fraction of the total as most are secretive rituals in rural areas.
A number of such incidents have been reported in different areas of the country since 2016.
Albinism is a genetic condition that results in little or no production of the pigment melanin, which determines the colour of the skin, hair and eyes.
It affects about one in 20,000 people worldwide who lack pigment in their skin, hair and eyes. More common in sub-Saharan Africa, it affects about one Tanzanian in 1,400.