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Albino body ‘organs’ merchants on the loose

By DERICK LUVEGA September 13th, 2015 2 min read

A 56-year-old albino is nursing injuries at Vihiga District Hospital in Mbale after he was attacked by unknown people who allegedly wanted his body parts to sell in Tanzania.

Mr Enock Jamenya said on Sunday from the hospital that he was attacked by three people armed with pangas on Thursday night at his home in Gavudunyi, Hamisi Sub-County.

“All I can remember is that three people stormed my house and demanded money,” Mr Jamenya said. “When I told them I had no money, they asked for my ear or hand to sell in Tanzania.”

A struggle ensued and the attackers sliced off his left ear, arm, neck and fingers, before leaving him unconscious.

“Luckily enough, they left hurriedly without taking any of the body parts as they intended,” said Mr Nickson Lugadiru, his brother.

Mr Lugadiru said his brother was found lying in a pool of blood — by his son who then raised the alarm — on Friday morning. “I quickly took him to Hamisi Sub-County Hospital, where he was referred to Vihiga District Hospital,” he said.

BODY PARTS

Doctors said Mr Jamenya was out of danger. The matter has rekindled concerns over the security and protection of albinos, when  Tanzanians are gearing up for elections in October.

“We are worried since the attackers wanted my brother’s body parts to sell in Tanzania,” said Mr Lugadiru, who is also an albino.

It is believed that Tanzania has a thriving black market for albinos’ body parts, driven by witchcraft.

Mr Martin Wanyonyi, the coordinator of Albinism Empowerment Network, visited Mr Jamenya at the health facility and condemned the attack.

“We are telling the government to provide security to all albinos,” he said.

Mr Wanyonyi, who is also a nominated member of the Bungoma County assembly, warned that if the attackers are not arrested in 48 hours, his group would hold a demonstration.

He said that Tanzania had strict laws in place to protect albinos, hence Kenya had become a soft target. “We want to tell witchdoctors that no part of our body can be used for any of their activities.”