Obama: Killing to Harvest Body Parts Is a ‘Foolish Tradition’- in Africa

By Eric Scheiner | August 3, 2015 | 2:34pm EDT
President Barack Obama speaks to participants of the Presidential Summit for the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in Washington (screen grab)

(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama told a group of young African leaders on Monday that killing others to harvest body parts was a “foolish tradition.”

At the Young African Leaders Initiative summit in Washington D.C., President Obama was asked about the killing of Albinos in Africa and the harvesting of their body parts for ritual purposes.

“Persons with Albinism in Africa are being killed and their body parts harvested for ritual purposes,” a woman in the audience said. “My request to you is to raise this issue with heads of state of African countries to bring these atrocities to an end.”

Obama condemned the practice as “foolish traditions.”

“When I was in Africa, I said, there are important traditions and folkways that need to be respected that’s part of who each culture is -- each country is -- but there’s also foolish traditions and old ways of doing business,” Obama said.

 The president focused on the issue as one of discrimination.

“The notion that any African would discriminate against somebody because of the color of their skin, after what black people around the world have gone through - is crazy.”

“It is infuriating and I have no patience for it,” Obama continued.

As Sky News reported in February, some African witch doctors use Albino body parts in witchcraft rituals. In Tanazania, a one-year-old Albino boy was kidnapped and his arms and legs were hacked off; police suspect those body parts were used in witchcraft. At least 70 Albino people were killed in Tanzania in the last 10 years, reported the article, and the United Nations has condemned the paganistic practice, which reportedly is on the rise. 

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