Malawi Police have confirmed the arrest of 10 men for murdering a 21-year-old albino woman as a United Nations team conducts a two-week assessment after a series of similar killings.
At least eight albinos have been murdered in the last two years, reportedly for their bones that are used in witchcraft rituals.
“They dragged the woman to a farm and killed her. They removed eight bones from her body, packed the body in a sack and buried it at the scene,” police spokesperson Kondwani Kandiado said.
Police said the lead suspect, Gerald Phiri, 38, was the victim’s uncle.
“They were motivated to kill the woman after hearing rumours that albino bones fetch a lot of money,” Kandiado said.
The suspects were alleged to have taken the bones to the administrative capital of Lilongwe but an arrangement to sell them fell through.
Albinos, who have white skin and yellow hair as a result of a genetic disorder, are regularly killed for their body parts in several African countries including Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.
The latest killing on Saturday comes three weeks after a two-year-old girl with albinism was also murdered in Malawi.
Two people – including her father – have been arrested in connection with her death.
Independent expert Ikponwosa Ero is leading a UN team investigating how albinos are targeted in the country.
Her assessment will focus on “attacks of persons with albinism and the sale of their body parts,” said the UN.
In March, a mob in Malawi’s southern district of Nsanje burned seven people to death for allegedly possessing human bones for use in witchcraft.