5 February 2013

Tanzania: Govt Refutes Delaying Albino Killing Court Cases

Dodoma — THE government has insisted that pending court cases for suspected albino killers were not purposely being delayed because inclusive evidence must be presented in court.

The Deputy Minister for Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Angellah Kairuki, said in Parliament that the government was serious in bringing justice to all implicated suspects, for fair trial and judgment under the rule of law. "Killing albinos or any other person cannot be tolerated.

It must be treated seriously like any other crime and there has been no intention to delay determination of cases against the suspects. A special task force has been assigned, with the duty to undertake in-depth investigation, on the matter and all found guilty will be convicted accordingly," Kairuki explained.

She clarified while responding to a supplementary question by Faida Mohamed Bakar, MP - Special Seat -CCM, who expressed disappointment over delayed conviction of suspected albino killers, as some were found in possession of body parts and, therefore, did not require additional evidence to punish them.

Responding to the basic question posed by the same legislator, the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Pereira Silima, said starting 2007, albino killings were reported in Kagera, Kigoma, Mara, Mbeya, Mwanza, Shinyanga, Tabora and Geita.

"The disgraceful killings that are based on witchcraft beliefs claimed 36 lives and eight others injured, and several suspects are still in custody while others have already been convicted," Silima explained. According to the deputy minister, a number of corrective measures including the participatory approach have been taken, such that community education is provided for people to abandon the senseless belief that wealth comes by killing others.

He said the government is collaborating with religious groups, civil organizations, police neighbourhood watch system as part of measures taken to control the killings. Mr Vincent Nyerere (Musoma Urban-CHADEMA) asked the government to strengthen security in Mara Region where women were killed after being branded witches. They targeted widows and the elderly who would have reached menopause, and disappeared with their heads.

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