Kenyan albino attack as Tanzania elections approach



Attackers in Kenya tried to hack off body parts from a man with albinism to sell for witchcraft, reports said Monday, rising fears of cross-border attacks from neighbouring Tanzania.

“Three people stormed my house and demanded money,” 56-year old Enock Jamenya, from Kenya’s western Vihiga district, told the Daily Nation newspaper. “When I told them I had no money, they asked for ear or hand to sell in Tanzania.”

The attackers sliced his ear, arm, neck and fingers, the newspaper reported, but then were apparently disturbed and fled, leaving Jamenya wounded and unconscious.

“One of his sons came in the morning to check on him, he found him lying in a pool of blood,” his brother Nixon Muhole told The Standard newspaper.

In neighbouring Tanzania, some politicians have been accused of buying albino body parts for witchcraft and lucky charms.

Rights groups have warned of the risk of a rise in attacks against albinos in Tanzania amid campaigning for general and presidential elections on October 25.

Kenyan lawmaker Isaac Mwaura, who has albinism, has repeatedly warned that gangs have carried attacks in Kenya for the trade in Tanzania.

At least 76 albinos in Tanzania have been murdered since 2000, with their dismembered body parts selling for around $600 (528 euros) and entire bodies fetching $75,000, according to United Nations experts. Dozens more have survived having parts of their bodies hacked off.

Albino rights groups said they feared attackers could target Kenya after Tanzania’s government made strong public statements vowing to stem the practice.

“We want the government to take a decisive decision on this issue, because it is a threat to our lives,” Martin Wanyonyi, from the Albinism Empowerment Network group, told The Standard.

Albinism is a hereditary genetic condition which causes a total absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes.

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