Two albinos killed in Burundi

2010-05-03 19:02

Bujumbura - Two albinos, a young mother and her 4-year-old son, were killed by men armed with knives and grenades in the eastern Burundi province of Cankuzo, a police officer said on Monday.

The tiny central African country of eight million people has around 500 albinos, who lack pigment in their skin, eyes and hair. Witchdoctors say albino body parts bring luck in love, life and business.

The two victims bring to 13 the number of albinos killed in the central African country since 2008.

"The two people were killed on midnight Sunday by a gang of criminals who found them at their home," Deogratias Ntahompagaze, police chief in Cankuzo, said. "The young lady had her breasts cut off and her child had his eyes removed and the tongue cut," he said.

He said police were still hunting the killers, who could have fled to neighbouring Tanzania after committing the murder.

Burundian authorities have in the past said albino killings were carried out at the behest of witchdoctors in Tanzania, where at least 53 albinos have been killed since 2007.

The national association of albinos strongly condemned the killings and urged the government to take severe sanctions against the criminals.

"I think albino killings continue in Burundi because the guilty people are not seriously punished," said Kazungu Kassim, head of the albinos' association.