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Machete attack on Tanzanian albino ahead of polls

23 October 2015, 16:10

Arusha - Attackers in Tanzania tried to hack the genitals off a man with albinism, media reports said Friday, just two days before elections.

Presidential and parliamentary polls due Sunday have been marked by fears of a spike in albino murders, with rights groups warning that some politicians may also be seeking lucky charms or "witchcraft" potions.

Television news stations, which said the attackers hnd shouted they wanted to chop the genitals off the man, broadcast footage of the 35-year recovering in hospital from a machete blow to the head.

"He was attacked at his home... he is currently hospitalised, but he is not in danger," said a local government officer in Pwani district, close to the main city Dar es Salaam. The attack took place overnight Wednesday.

"We thought the attacks against albinos had declined, but this shows albinos are being targeted, especially in this election period," said Vicky Ntetema of Under The Same Sun, an organisation defending the rights of albinos in Tanzania.

At least 76 albinos have been murdered since 2000 with their dismembered body parts selling for around $600 (528 euros) and entire bodies fetching $75,000, according to UN experts.

Dozens more have survived having parts of their bodies hacked off while alive.

On Tuesday, Tanzania's ruling party presidential election candidate John Magufuli denounced the killing of albinos as "silly" and a "national shame".

In March, outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete said attacks against people with albinism were "disgusting and a big embarrassment for the nation".

Albinism is a hereditary genetic condition which causes a total absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes.

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