- Title: BURUNDI: Nine arrests made for albino killings
- Date: 19th March 2009
- Summary: RUYIGI PROVINCE, BURUNDI (MARCH 17, 2009) (REUTERS) STREET SCENES VARIOUS OF MURDER SUSPECTS HANDCUFFED TOGETHER
- Embargoed: 3rd April 2009 13:00
- Location: Burundi
- Country: Burundi
- Reuters ID: LVA3XSOHXE0RZFTJDVWDA6QS9OAX
- Story Text: Burundi has arrested nine people found with human bones suspected of belonging to albinos, said a government official.
The east African nation and neighboring Tanzania have been convulsed by a spate of ritual albino murders fueled by a body parts trade. Witchdoctors tell clients that albino parts will bring them luck in love, life and business.
"On the night of March 14, we conducted a search in the district that began at four in the afternoon and ended at seven the next morning. We arrested nine murder suspects, and that's where we found some albino remains," said Nicodeme Gahimbare, a public prosecutor in the eastern Ruyigi province.
Albinism is a condition that causes a lack of pigment in the eyes, skin or hair, which makes patients especially vulnerable to skin cancer and burns, and makes life particularly difficult in sun-drenched Africa.
Since last year, 11 albinos have been killed in Burundi. Forty others have been murdered in Tanzania since mid-2007.
"I would tell those who kill albinos to stop because there is no money in it, it's just death," said one the murder suspects.
Gahimbare maintains that the local population should help the authorities in naming and shaming those who commit these crimes.
"It's up to the local population to look after their own security.
The people that commit these barbaric acts live amongst them, so it's up to the population to denounce them. I would also like to tell the local authorities to take up their responsibilities and sensitise the population," added Gahimbare.
There are about 200 albinos in the nation of 8 million people.
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