Barely few days after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned violent attacks against people with albinism in Malawi, an 11-year-old albino boy escaped possible death when some unknown criminals attempted to abduct him in the eastern region district of Balaka.
According to Balaka police publicist Sub Inspector Joseph Sauka, the incident happened at around midnight of 10 to 11 March 2015 at Chongolera Village in the area of Sub Traditional Authority Matola in the district.
“During the night of the incident, the victim went out to answer the call of nature, and just after he went back into the house, unknown criminals attacked him,” said Sauka.
He added: “They gagged his mouth and injected him with unknown substance but fortunately, his in-law heard the strange noise and rushed only to find the boy struggling with the criminals and rescued him.”
The victim was later referred to Balaka District Hospital where he was treated as an outpatient.
Sauka said this is the first case of attack on albinos in the district. Meanwhile police are hunting for the suspects and have assured the general public that they will do everything possible to ensure culprits are apprehended.
Police have since asked the public to join hands to protect albinos by not allowing them sleep or walk alone.
Albinos in Malawi are killed for their body parts, which are sold for witchcraft. According to the report released by the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM), since 2013 at least seven albinos were reported abused or killed.
Belief in witchcraft runs deep in Malawi and albino body parts are often used in rituals. Even the bodies of dead albinos are sometimes exhumed and sold.
Albinism is a hereditary genetic condition that causes a total absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes.