The mutilated bodies of 10 children in Tanzania were found last week, authorities confirmed on Monday raising questions if the murders were associated with witchcraft in the area.
The children were found with their teeth pulled out and their genitals cut off. According to a report by All Africa, the murderers also cut off the children's respiratory organs.
All the 10 children, some as young as seven years of age, were kidnapped from their home and were missing since December in Njombe district, southwest Tanzania.
"So far, we have found 10 bodies, and most of their private parts and teeth had been removed," Tanzania's deputy health minister Faustine Ndugulile was quoted as saying by CNN.
He added, "These murders are linked to witchcraft practices because that is the trend for such crimes, where herbalists ask people to get these human parts for money rituals."
The chairman for Defence and Security in Njombe, also the Njombe Regional Commissioner, Christopher Ole Sendeka, said that all witchdoctors linked to the deaths of the children should be immediately arrested.
"We want to identify the perpetrators, but our focus is to educate the traditional practitioners in the area quickly and those in surrounding communities on the need to stop these acts," Ndugulile said.
The aftermath of the murders saw the Tanzanian government inviting traditional healers, some call them with doctors for a meeting. Ndugulile said that the witchdoctors the government met denied any connection with the murders. However, the health minister feels that someone in the region is behind the killings.
Parents amp up security for children
Parents became more vigilant after the kidnappings. Ever since the schools reopened three weeks ago in Chaugingi Village in Njombe, every child is escorted to and fro from school. Their workplaces reduced their timings to ensure that the parents can pick and drop their kids.
"We have fewer hours of work nowadays because of escorting our children to school in the morning and picking them back home in the afternoon. The situation is worse because we even fear leaving our children at home for the killers are still at large," Atupele Sanga, a resident of Chaugingi Village was quoted as saying by All Africa.
Are the murders related to the Albino killings?
Ndugulile said that these killings have nothing to do with the albino killings which are conducted on a large scale in the area and other parts of Africa. The CNN report states that Tanzania sees the highest number of albinism in the world with one person being an albino for every 500.
Albinos in the region are often hunted and killed for their bones which many believe, bring good luck. The bones and organs are also used for charms and magical potions by witchdoctors.