Albino Girl Rescued After Uncle Tried To Sell Her To Witchdoctors

This is the little albino girl whose own uncle tried to sell her to a witch doctor for thousands of dollars so she could be hacked to death and her body parts used to make a potion to bring the rich and powerful luck.

Margareth Khamis was snatched from the home she shares with her mother and three siblings in northern Tanzania by a masked gang in the middle of the night last week.

The kidnapping sparked a frantic search by the villagers, who tried to follow the gang through the bush without luck, all the while holding onto the grim knowledge the little girl faced almost certain death at the hands of her captors.

Relief: Margareth Khamis, pictured centre after she was rescued, was taken from her home in the middle of the night by a gang of masked raiders intent on selling her to witchdoctors for her body parts

Trade: It is believed albino people's skin can bring luck and wealth to a person - and some are willing to pay thousands for a limb, let along a whole body, in order to give themselves an advantage

For albino kidnappings and murders are relatively common-place in Tanzania, where a sick trade in body parts to be used in potions is fueled by greed.

Indeed, an entire albino body has been known to fetch £50,000 ($75,000) on the black market.

But unlike many other children with ablinism, luck was on the six-year-old's side: local police heard a man was looking to sell a little girl for an undisclosed sum which could have run into the tens of thousands. 

Had he been successful, it is likely Margareth would not have been seen again.

Instead, the police set up a sting, and pretended to be a potential customer.

Jume Bwire, the acting Tabora regional police commander, said: 'After we had received the information our officers immediately put our trap and were able to arrest the man red-handed.'

Shockingly, the man they arrested was Margareth's 44-year-old uncle.

Thankfully, she was unharmed and was quickly reunited with her family. Margareth's mother Joyce Mwandu, who also has albinism, was relieved to have her young daughter back

Survivor: Margareth was lucky. Kulwa was 15 when five men broke into her home in north-west Tanzania and attacked her, chopping off her arm - but at least she survived the devastating attack

Widespread: The belief is particularly strong in Tanzania, but there have been killings and attacks in countries like Burundi and Malawi (where the child in the picture lives). But there has been a crackdown - and Maragreth was saved after an undercover sting caught her uncle trying to sell her to a witch doctor

Surge: In the last seven months, 15 people have been kidnapped, maimed or killed for their body parts

The arrest, and the promised investigation and up-coming court case, are part of an on-going crackdown on the trade in albino body parts in Tanzania.

There have been at least 75 murders in the country in the last 15 years, with far more attacks in which limbs have been hacked off, but the victim survived.

There are fears the up-coming elections may lead to an increase in the number of attacks, with the U.N. warning of increases in Tanzania, as well as Malawi and Burundi.

The two countries, which border Tanzania, are also taking decisive actions, with police across Malawi being ordered to shoot anyone caught attacking albinos, while children in Burundi are being housed in special accommodation under army protection.

It is thought some politicians use the witch doctors potions - known as 'muti' - to help their election chances.

By Flora Drury For Mailonline


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