Kenyan arrested by Tanzania police over 'albino sale'

By Will Ross
East Africa correspondent

  • Published
Albino children in a school for the blind in Tanzania
Image caption,
The Tanzanian government has promised action to protect albinos

Police in Tanzania say they have arrested a Kenyan national who was attempting to sell an albino man.

The arrest was made in a sting operation as police pretended to be businessmen buying albino body parts.

Police say they struck a deal equivalent to more than $250,000 (£159,000) for the 20-year-old man.

Albino body parts are prized in parts of Africa, with witchdoctors claiming they have special powers. The Tanzanian government has promised to take action.

According to the Tanzanian police a 28-year-old Kenyan man, Nathan Mutei, was arrested just outside the town of Mwanza as he attempted to sell an albino man.

The regional police commander, Simon Siro, told the BBC that Mr Mutei had tricked a fellow Kenyan into believing he would secure a job in Tanzania as a truck driver's assistant.

Court cases

But the police said Mr Mutei had secretly tried to find businessmen willing to buy 20-year-old Robinson Mkwama. The police commander said they had posed as potential buyers in order to make the arrest.

Mr Mutei is due in court on Wednesday accused of human trafficking.

In Tanzania, the body parts of people living with albinism are used by witchdoctors for potions which they tell clients will help make them rich or healthy.

Over the last three years more than 50 albino adults and children have been killed. The Tanzanian government promised to take action, and there have been some court cases.

But justice is slow. So far, just seven men have been given death sentences.

The number of albino killings has fallen, but the fear is still strong. African albinos are also under threat from skin cancer and for that reason they rarely live beyond the age of 40.

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