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Activists: Mother, son albinos killed in Burundi

Posted in News by Skepdude on May 7, 2010

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NAIROBI, Kenya —

Attackers in Burundi chopped off the limbs of a 5-year-old albino boy and pulled out his mother’s eye, killing them over the belief that their body parts would bring wealth and success, human rights activists said Friday.

Those deaths and other recent attacks in Tanzania are part of long pattern of violence against African albinos. At least 10,000 have been displaced or gone into hiding since attacks against them spiked in late 2007, the International Federation of the Red Cross says.

Since then, 57 albinos have been killed in Tanzania and 14 in Burundi, said Vicky Ntetema with the rights group Under The Same Sun.

The killings are fueled by superstitious beliefs that human albino body parts will bring others wealth and success, Ntetema said.

“Body parts are sought for their supposed miraculous powers,” she said. “Some use them as human sacrifice as advised by witch doctors.”

African albinos endure insults and segregation throughout their lives, and face greater discrimination than Western albinos because they live in darker-skinned communities. They also have a high risk of contracting skin cancer in a region where many jobs are outdoors.

Ten assailants armed with guns and grenades killed Desire Vyegura, 5, and his mother, Susann Vyegura, in Burundi on Monday, said Kassim Kazungu, head of the Burundi Albino Association.

Both victims had their limbs chopped off. Attackers also pulled out one of Desire’s eyes and chopped off his mother’s breasts, Kazungu said. The attack took place in Cankunko village in the Cendajuru district, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) east of the capital city, Bujumbura.

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