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Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 16:46 UK

Burundian albino murders denied

Albino children in a school for the blind in Tanzania
People with albinism are living in fear in Tanzania and Burundi

The trial has begun in Burundi of 11 defendants accused of attacking and killing 12 albino people, starting with the murder of a young girl.

It is thought to be the first trial linked to the recent spate of albino killings in East Africa, which has claimed more than 50 lives.

The 11 denied charged of murder and attempted murder.

Police believe albino body parts are smuggled out of Burundi and sold in Tanzania, to be used in witchcraft.

Magic potions

If convicted, the defendants could be sentenced to life in prison.

Witchdoctors in the region tell clients that potions made with albino body parts will bring them luck in love, life and business.

In addition to the killing of albinos in Burundi, more than 40 albinos have been killed in Tanzania.

An association campaigning for the rights of albinos in Burundi says the authorities are now taking the killings seriously, but more needs to be done.

At least 200 people have been arrested over the trade in Tanzania, but none has been convicted.



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SEE ALSO
Burundi 'albino killers' arrested
16 Mar 09 |  Africa
Albinos in Burundi flee killings
02 Oct 08 |  Africa
Tanzanians to name albino killers
02 Mar 09 |  Africa
Mothers hacked in albino attacks
14 Nov 08 |  Africa
Living in fear: Tanzania's albinos
21 Jul 08 |  Africa


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