Tanzanians Asked to Secretly Finger Albino-Murderers

By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2009 1:10 PM CST
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete announced the initiative over the weekend.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The government of Tanzania is turning to a secret “referendum” to ferret out those behind a surge in killings that have left 45 albinos dead in the past 15 months, the BBC reports. Officials aim to collect, in writing, names of suspects. “When you invite people to accuse their neighbors of such a serious crime,” warns one observer, “you give them the opportunity to settle scores.”

Witchdoctors in the African nation claim albinos’ body parts are the key ingredient in potions that make people wealthy, and hefty prices are behind the series of killings. One observer calls the latest tactic “a political ploy to please those who say the government is not doing enough to solve these murders.” The BBC says 200 arrests in the past year have led to no convictions.