Albino boy dies after arm chopped off

2011-01-01 14:40

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Bujumbura - A Burundian boy died after having his arm cut off by gunmen in the latest case of suspected witchcraft-related smuggling of albino body parts, officials said on Saturday.

"Four bandits armed with rifles and machetes attacked a family with three albino children on the Gahweza hill" in central Burundi late on Thursday, top local official Joseph Ntahuga told AFP.

"They chopped off this 12-year-old boy's left arm before they were forced to flee by the screams of the family," he explained.

He said Ephraim Havyarimana died before an ambulance could rush him to hospital.

Two young albino boys were killed and dismembered in southeastern and northern Burundi in October as authorities thought they had brought an end to a gruesome string of killings.

Albino murders in Burundi had until then occurred mainly in the eastern region of Ruyigi, near the border with Tanzania, where it is suspected the body parts are sold to witch doctors.

Burundi last year sentenced eight people found guilty of killing albinos and trading their body parts to prison terms ranging from one year to life.

The wave of killings started in Tanzania, where more than 60 albinos were murdered since 2007 and their limbs hacked off to be sold to witch doctors who concoct charms.

According to Kassim Kazungu, who chairs Burundi's albino society, the latest death brings to 16 the number of albinos, mainly children, who were killed in his country since 2007.

"Albinos in this country live in a permanent state of terror and with the fear of being murdered at any time. We ask the government to reinstate the death penalty for these cases," he told AFP.

Read more on:    burundi  |  east africa
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