July 17, 2009

MP wants security beefed up to stem albino killings

This has been going on for a while, and was a hot topic when I last visited. Takes me back to one of my first daladala rides in Dar-es-Salaam: an albino guy gets in and sits next to me. Everyone in the bus starts tittering softly until finally the driver looks at us and says, "your brother" to me. Everyone in the daladala burst out laughing except for the albino guy, who kept his eyes down the whole time. Interestingly this call for investigation is coming from an albino MP who is also a Muslim woman. At the end of the article are some links for more information on albino killings and why they occur.

By Lusekelo Philemon (IPP MEDIA)

A member of Parliament, Al-Shymaa Kwegyir, yesterday urged the government to increase the number of police officers in areas notorious for vicious killings of people with albinism.Kwegyir made the plea here in a supplementary question to East African Cooperation deputy Mohamed Abood, who was standing in for Home Affairs minister Lawrence Masha.She said the proposal would help to lessen the magnitude of the problem in the affected areas.According to her, in Tanzania there were areas which were prone to albino killings which needed special attention compared to other areas.Responding, Abood said the government would work on the proposal and see how it could be executed.He urged people in the country to refrain from barbaric beliefs which led to albino killings.In response to the basic question by Kheri Khatibu Ameir (Matemwe, CCM), the minister said that from 2005 to 2008 about 1997 elderly people had been killed while in the same period about 1698 suspected killers had been arrested.He said the government had been taking practical measures to address the problem including forming intelligence groups that made it easier to identify suspected killers and those involved in other crimes.He also said the government had formed task forces in every region and district to address the problem.“The government, through community policing, has been educating people on the negative impact of albino and elderly killings in the society,” he said.The Matemwe MP had wanted to know the number of elderly people killed from 2005 to 2008 and the number of suspected killers who had been arrested in connection with the killings.

Albino killings in Tanzania
Albino killings in Burundi


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