Malawi police have arrested one of their own cops for allegedly taking part in the abduction of a man with albinism, Macdonald Masambuka, 22, of Nakawa Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Nkoola in Machinga District in February.
Police deputy national spokesperson Thomeck Nyaude confirmed the arrest but shielded particulars of the suspect.
Nyaude said that the police have on Sunday found the body of the deceased buried in a garden close to Masambuka house.
“We have indeed arrested a police officer in connection to the development. However I cannot disclose his identity now as it can jeopardize our investigation,” said Nyaude.
“We also found the body of the deceased buried in a garden close to his house. The body is in a decomposed state and it has been referred to Machinga hospital for postmortem,” he added.
He could not say if the body was mutulated.
Nyaude has said while they are accountable to the public, they cannot always divulge information about investigations.
Masambuka was last seen near the common border with Mozambique on 9 March. He had gone to the market to purchase a mat at the trading centre in the company of a friend who is currently assisting the police with investigations.
Machinga is the worst hit district on cases of abduction and killing of people with albinism is concerned.
From 2014 to date, 21 persons with albinism have been killed and over nine cases of abductions have been reported. Three of these cases have been recorded in the last four months.
A rights group called Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) led by Timothy Mtambo, his deputy Gift Trapence and secretary Mwiza Nkhata have since said they are deeply concerned by the rate at which attacks on persons with albinism continue to happen in the country.
“While our brothers and sisters with albinism continue being killed and attacked, authorities choose to do business as usual, with little or no urgency in their protection and response,” HRDs said .
And a total of 30 international and local human rights and governance organisations, including Amnesty International, have asked the government to enhance its judicial and administrative framework to combat attacks on persons with albinism.
”Thecase of Masambuka is not an isolated, random case but exemplifies a wider systemic problem in Malawi and across the sub-region,” the statement from the organisations said.
The organisations said the government also ought to give full effect to the response plan of 2015 that President Peter Mutharika launched, including ensuring that the taskforce for combating attacks on people with albinism is effective
In April 2016, A United Nations (UN) independent expert on the rights of persons with disabilities Ikponwosa Ero said the atrocities were rendering persons with albinism an endangered group facing a risk of systemic extinction over time if nothing is done.
Amnesty International also released an 80-page report titled We Are Not Animals to be Hunted or Sold: Violence and Discrimination Against People with Albinism in Malawi which detailed how people with albinism are suffering in the countryFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :