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African leaders buying human albino parts: group

October 11, 2010

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NAIROBI, Kenya—A lobby group says politicians are involved in the trade of human albino body parts in Africa and use them as charms to bring them good fortune.

Albino body parts are sold for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in parts of Africa. Coumba Makalou, president of the U.S.-based Salif Keita Global Foundation, a group that advocates for albinos' rights, says those who pay for body parts include rich businessmen and politicians looking to improve their political fortunes.

Makalou says body parts sell for as much as $2,000. At least 57 albinos have been killed in Tanzania and 14 in Burundi since 2007. Thousands of albinos are estimated to live in hiding.

The killings are fueled by superstitious beliefs that human albino body parts will bring wealth and success.

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