Kenyan Witchdoctors Stoke Demand for Albino Humans

Human trafficker jailed for trying to sell albino man. Kenyan sentenced to 9 years in prison for trying to make deal with Tanzanian witchdoctors.

By Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala|Reuters|MSNBC

DAR ES SALAAM — A Kenyan man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for trying to sell an albino man to witchdoctors in Tanzania, local media reported Thursday.

A magistrate’s court in northwest Tanzania sentenced 28-year old Nathan Mutei on Wednesday, after he pleaded guilty to charges of human trafficking and abduction with intention to sell an albino man, also Kenyan, for 400 million Tanzanian shillings ($263,000).

At least 53 albinos have been killed since 2007 in the east African nation and their body parts sold for use in witchcraft, especially in the remote northwest regions of Mwanza and Shinyanga, both gold-mining regions where superstition is rife.

The victims’ blood and body parts are used for potions. Witchdoctors tell their clients that the body parts will bring them luck in love, life and business.

There are around 170,000 albino people, who lack pigment in their skin, eyes and hair, living in Tanzania.

“For the offence of human trafficking, you will go prison for nine years, or pay a fine of 80 million shillings. For the second offence, you will go to prison for eight years,” Mwanza resident magistrate Angelous Rumisha was quoted as saying by the privately owned Mwananchi newspaper.

Mutei’s sentences will run simultaneously for each count, meaning that he will spend only nine years in a Tanzanian prison after he failed to pay the fine.