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"Protect Albinos, Tanzania!" - Rights Groups

FILE: This image courtesy of the Milliyet Daily shows albino women posing on May 5, 2014, in Dar es Salaam. The Tanzanian government has openined shelters for albino children in some parts of the country and commissioning task forces to investigate albino killings.

Three rights groups on Monday asked Tanzania to take action after an surge in attacks on albinos, whose limbs are used in occult practices believed to bring wealth and power.

The Legal and Human Rights Center said in a joint statement with the Tanzania Albinism Society and the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition warn that attacks on albinos have increased.

"We ask the police to make sure all people involved in these incidents are arrested and taken to court," their joint statement demanded.

"We also want the investigations of these incidents to be expanded to the people like traditional healers who are involved in the black market of parts of albinos."

In one case, a 50-year-old called Joseph Mathias died after being attacked while sleeping earlier this month by men who cut off his right arm.

Albinism, caused by a lack of melanin, the pigment that colors skin, hair and eyes, is a genetic condition that affects hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, especially in Africa.

Under The Same Sun, a Canada-based charity working to combat discrimination, ranks Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania as the countries where such attacks are most prevalent.