Tanzania arrests 65 witch doctors for suspected killings of albino children

March 5, 2019 | Brainwave Science

Tanzania arrests 65 witch doctors for suspected killings of albino children

SITUATION

65 witchdoctors, or traditional healers, have been arrested in Tanzania for the ritual killing of at least 10 children. These children are believed to have been killed in January. Moreover, several of them had their body parts removed. In Tanzania and neighbouring countries, there is a belief among the people, that using human body parts in rituals can bring wealth and good luck. In response to this crisis, the inspector general of police, Simon Sirro, has ordered that every traditional healer obtain a licence.

Other institutions, religious leaders and politicians have been requested to help in this endeavour.

Ten children were murdered in the south-western Njombe region and an unknown number in the northern Simuyu region. One of the children, Goodluck Mfugale, was just five years old when he was killed. His parents feel that their son had been robbed of his future.

What is more disturbing is that it is believed that persons with albinism have superpowers. Albinism is a congenital disorder characterized in humans by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes.

The dangerous outcome of this belief has led to numerous killings of albino children for their body parts like limbs so that witch doctors can incorporate in rituals. However, in this case, it is not clear if any of the 10 children known to have been killed had albinism.

According to a 2006 BMC Public Health report In Tanzania, Albinism is more prevalent than in western countries. One in 1,400 Tanzanian is affected by this condition, whereas in the western countries the prevalence is one in 20,000.

Activists on the continent say poverty contributes to the suspicion surrounding albinos and the belief their body parts can be sold for large sums of money.

According to Stephane Ebongue, a journalist with albinism, “It is believed that parts of an albino, such as their heart, hair or fingernails, are important to make magical potions – for instance, to fertilise the soil, to become invincible, to win political elections or a football match”.

Ebongue fled Cameroon because of the colour of his skin. Years later he returned home to confront a witchdoctor, and to question him about the practice of using human body parts in “magic” potions. Ebongue was 15 when his older brother, Maurice, who also had albinism, went missing 30 years ago. Days later the family found the 18-year-old’s body in some bushes. He had been mutilated. “His stomach was opened – I don’t know what was missing inside,” says Ebongue.

CHALLENGE

According to a recent UN report, albino body parts can fetch prices from $2,000 for a limb to $75,000 for a “complete set” – a whole body.

In Africa, there are bizarre beliefs and stereotypes revolving around albinos such as the one that having sexual intercourse with a person living with Albinism can cure HIV; a superstition that has increased cases of rape and infection among Albinos.

study by albinism awareness group Under the Sun found that there were a total of 448 reported attacks on Albinos in 2015, across 25 African countries. The attacks constituted mutilations, violence, rape, attempted abductions. The actual number of attacks & killings of Albinos are likely much higher than indicated since many are never reported or documented.

Last year a United Nations human rights expert, Ikponwosa Ero, warned that albinos in Malawi, in eastern Africa face the risk what she described as “systematic extinction”

The lack of knowledge about people with albinism means that folktales and superstition in the name of witchcraft take the place of medical and scientific facts in the minds of many native Africans, with and without albinism, which in turn has major effects on the social integration of albinistic people into African society. Ninety-eight percent of albinos die by the age of forty for reasons which could easily be prevented.

Such widespread persecution of an innocent minority must be stopped. However, there is the need for a way to find out details about the witch-doctors, and their network of abductors, traffickers, and about the entire ’supply-chain’ etc. The money trail in this business of body parts is a big clue and must be investigated in order to crack open this illicit business.

There is a pressing need for an intelligence gathering mechanism which can quickly screen multiple suspects (mostly witch doctors and their partners) and indicate if they have any connection with the murder and dismemberment of the albino children.

WHY ICOGNATIVE?

iCognative is a breakthrough technology which covers up for the shortcomings of the investigation techniques which are in use today. It is highly versatile in its area of applicability. This technology introduced by Massachusetts based Brainwave Science can not only help in solving cases related to human and drug trafficking but is equally applicable to a plethora of other types of crimes such as cybercrime, law-enforcement,  national-security, border-security, immigration, and counter-terrorism.

It is surprising that although DNA and fingerprinting are popular and considered to be decisive tools in investigations, they are uncovered in only 1-2% of all cases. To add to this, they are extremely costly, labor-intensive and time-consuming to gather, preserve and process. This adds to delays and inefficiencies in the judicial process.

iCognative is applicable to 85-90% of all civil and criminal cases. In comparison to conventional techniques, iCognative is 99.9% accurate, reliable, highly-customizable, easy to teach, cost-effective, provides immediate results, and requires significantly less manpower. The test subject is not put through any torture if he or she is interrogated using the iCognative process. In fact, he or she barely needs to exchange any words with the test administrator. The interrogation process takes place using a specialized headset and a computer system which runs the iCognative system. The testee is shown images, words or phrases related to the crime or the criminal organization under investigation. At the same time, the brain responses to each stimulus are recorded and transmitted to the computer system where these are analyzed by the iCognative software. iCognative technology can tell whether the information shown to the suspect was already known by him or her or not. This knowledge is extremely important in identifying culprits and exonerating innocents.

In this case the stimuli can be verbal and pictorial details of the corpses of the killed and children with missing limbs, details of previously arrested human traffickers and witch doctors and their aides, CCTV footage of the suspect interacting with victims before the incidents, voodoo related propaganda material, travel records to voodoo black-markets, call/interaction details with other traffickers, pictures and details of desecrated albino graves.etc.

Not only can the presence of crime-related information be indicated by iCognative software, but his or her ties with other criminals and witch doctors can also be discovered using this technology.

Tanzanian investigative agencies can use the awesome power of iCognative, provided by Brainwave Science to hasten up the process of elimination of widespread beliefs about albinism, witchcraft, and voodoo.

Main source: BBC

Image Source: BBC