Friday, 19 June 2015

Albino Children Receive Prosthetics After Thier Limbs Were Sold To African Witchdoctors

They are five young, innocent children from a country where their conditions puts them in constant fear of being abducted, hacked up or even killed.

But now a group of albino amputees from Tanzania - whose limbs were forcibly cut off and sold to local witch doctors to be boiled into 'potions' they believe bring people good luck - have been brought to America by a children's charity in an attempt to replace the hands and arms that were stolen from them. 

The children arrived at Shriner's Hospital in North Philadelphia on Wednesday and have already started undergoing treatment.

'These children, unfortunately, had their arms amputated for the sale of their arms as, essentially, good luck charms,' Dr. Dan Zlotolow, who is working with the kids, told CBS
'Most of what we'll be doing for them is fitting them with protheses,' he said. 
'A couple of them we may be doing a toe-to-hand transfer. 

'We will be taking one of their toes and giving them something to pinch against in their hands (like a thumb)'.

The five were brought to America this week by Global Medical Relief Fund (GMRF), a small Staten Island-based charity.

Founder Elissa Montanti saw a story about a six-year-old boy, Baraka Cosmas Rusambo, online and took it from there. 

'It was like, ''Oh my God, how do I reach this kid?'' Montanti told 6 ABC.
After tracking down Baraka, Montanti was asked if her charity could help four other children in a similar situation.

This began a process of collecting donations in order to get all four to America and the doctors they need. 

One of the children, Kabula, 17, told the network how, at the age of 12, she was mutilated by intruders. 

'One day, I was sleeping with my mother, and there were people came in our house and told my mother to give my...' she said, unable to continue.

Kabula had her arm cut off and spent two months hospital.

She is joined by Baraka, Sengerema, and Nkalango. 

Doctors hope that Baraka, 6, will be eligible for a new hand using his toes. 
Tragically the horrific acts done to albinos in Tanzana - who make up 10 percent of the population, is incredibly common.

Just this week an 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. 

Albino kidnappings and murders are common-place in the country because of a sick trade in body parts to be used in potions is fueled by greed.

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.

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. 

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