By Kizito Makoye
DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Four men, including a witchdoctor, were sentenced to death by Tanzania's High Court on Wednesday after being found guilty of abducting, killing and dismembering a 17-year-old albino boy.
The court was told the killers planned to sell the victim's organs for use in witchcraft. A fifth defendant was released because there was insufficient evidence to link him to the murder.
The witchdoctor, Adangalwisye Kayuni, was found with human intestines whose DNA matched that of the dead teenager, and another defendant was found in possession of four fingers and 10 bones which DNA tests proved were also those of the victim, the court in the southern city of Mbeya heard.
The boy, Henry Mwakajila, went missing in the Mbeya region one night in 2008, the prosecution said.
The court has sentenced 15 people to death for killing albinos since 2008, and the United Nations says at least 75 people with albinism - a lack of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes - have been killed in Tanzania since 2000.
The killers often hack their victims to death and sell their body party to witchdoctors who use them in spells to bring good luck and wealth. Witchdoctors pay as much as $75,000 for a full set of albino body parts, according to a Red Cross report.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has vowed to curb the rising wave of violence against albinos. Four people were sentenced to death in March for killing an albino woman in the northern Geita region.
Albinism is a congenital disorder which affects about one in 20,000 people worldwide. It is more common in sub-Saharan Africa, and affects an estimated one Tanzanian in 1,400.
(Reporting by Katy Migiro; editing by Tim Pearce. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)