An albino bone market agents in Lilongwe offered K1.1 billion (about $1.5million) to Gerald Phiri, convicted of the murder of his 21-year-old albino niece Eneless Nkhata at Madisi in Dowa mid this month, Malawi Police chief has been told at a special hearing.
Inspector General (IG) of Police Lexten Kachama and Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Jappie Mhango summoned the Phiri, 38 who has since sentenced to a 17-year jail term to a special hearing on Wednesday at Mponela Police Station
Phiri disclosed that the the ‘potential buyer’ of the bones, detained at the Mponela police station, has offered astronomical figure to buy the albino bones and they were swayed with the money.
According to Phiri, his accomplice Medson Madzialenga whom he allegedly agreed to sell bones of a person with albinism , persuaded him to murder his niece who completed her school certificate last year at Mzimba Secondary School after linking him with albino bone market agent Damison Manyoni in Area 47, Lilongwe.
He said after meeting Manyoni in his house, he promised K1.1 billion cash for the albino bones.
Phiri, confessed that he murdered his niece at a forest in Madisi .
During mitigation at Mponela First Grade Magistrate’s Court, the convicts who pleaded guilty, blamed Satan for influencing their acts and pleaded for leniency on the basis that they are first offenders and that they look after their aged parents.
However, first grade magistrate Beatrice Ng’oma ignored their plea and agreed with the State prosecutor Isaac Kadawayula that the two deserved a stiffer sentence and imposed 17 years imprisonment.
There are other eight who pleaded not guilty.They include Jezmoni Baluwa, Weluzani Foster, Steven Ching’ombe, Isaac Msambalume, Kaluzi Kamangeni, Damiano Phiri, Damisoni Manyoni (ex-Army officer) and Mc Donald Kanyerere.
A series of horrific murders of albinos has been rampant of late as Association of People with Albinism in Malawi has reported over 50 cases of attacks which have resulted into deaths, abductions for the purposes of body parts removal, and exhumation of their bodies, mostly in the district of Machinga, Mchinji, Kasungu, Phalombe, Karonga and Mzimba and lately Dowa.
Superstitions feed myths that albinos are ghosts, sorcerers or demons who have been cursed and, when hunted and killed for body parts, bring good luck to others.
A complete set of body parts from an albino, including “all four limbs, genitals, ears, tongue and nose,” can bring in up to $75,000 on the black market, according to a report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Albinism is a rare genetic condition in which people are born without pigmentation in their hair, skin and eyes. Many who have it are visually impaired and more vulnerable to sunlight, putting them at greater risk for developing skin cancer.
Witch doctors use their body parts in potions to bring good fortune to those who are willing to pay for it.
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