Page last updated at 17:12 GMT, Monday, 2 November 2009

Albino killers get death penalty

Albino people in a safe haven in Tanzania, 01/09
Albino people live in fear throughout Tanzania

Four Tanzanians have been sentenced to death by hanging for killing an albino man last year - one of a spate of such murders in the country.

The court, in the northern town of Shinyanga, convicted them of murdering the man and removing his head and legs.

In September three men were sentenced to death for murdering an albino boy - the first such ruling in Tanzania.

Witchdoctors sell good-luck potions made from the body parts of albino people for thousands of dollars.

More than 50 albino people are thought to have been murdered in the past two years in Tanzania.

Analysts say thousands of albino people are now living in fear, especially in villages in the north-west where the majority of the murders have occurred.

The killings have also spread to neighbouring Burundi, where at least 12 people have been murdered.

The BBC's Eric Nampesya in Shinyanga says many Tanzanians are happy with the ruling because they believe it is sending a message that such killings will not be tolerated.

But he says some are questioning whether there is a bigger network of criminals behind the killings - and they want those who deal in body parts to be punished.

The four men are expected to appeal against their sentence, our reporter says.

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