The Tanzanian police have arrested more than 200 unlicensed traditional healers linked to recent murders and kidnappings of the country's albino population. The East African country banned witchdoctors in January, but the government is now using force to try to put an end to the grisly practice of albino hunting: At least 76 albinos have been murdered in Tanzania since 2000, while dozens have had limbs hacked off and survived.
Why Are Albinos Being Attacked?
Some Tanzanians believe that potions made from albino body parts have magical properties, bringing good luck or wealth to those who consume them. "When you bring [a witch doctor] a body part, such as an arm, a leg or a finger, the witch doctor will make a potion with it," Issac Timothy, an albino activist from the town of Geita told NPR. "A miner will pour it in the ground where he wants to find minerals or a fisherman will pour it in his canoe."
The Red Cross says witchdoctors are prepared to pay as much as $75,000 for a set of albino body parts, and the set of items found in the possession of the arrested witch doctors—including warthog teeth, monkey tails, and lion skin—reveals the breadth of superstitious medical beliefs in the area.