Sphere.Com: Deadly Skin Trade Preys on African Albinos.
LONDON (Nov. 23) -- East Africa's albinos have long suffered because of the color of their skin. Some are abandoned as babies by parents who regard their lack of pigment as a curse. Many more are subjected to taunts of "zeru" (Swahili for ghost) in school and on the street. But now Tanzania and Burundi's 8,000 albinos face a more horrible threat, fueled by a macabre combination of superstition and economics.
Over the past two years -- according to a new report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies -- at least 56 albinos in the two countries have been murdered, and their body parts used by witch doctors to make charms and potions. The last known killing took place on Oct. 21, when albino hunters attacked 10-year-old Gasper Elikana in northern Tanzania. A gang of men hacked the boy to death in front of his family and neighbors -- who were wounded trying to protect the child -- before fleeing with his severed leg.