‘Root cause’ of albino killings under probe in Malawi – Official

Malawi has launched an investigation into the root cause of a recent spate of murders of albinos, a senior official said Saturday, as the country marked international albinism awareness day.

Victims of a growing trade in albino body parts.

Victims of a growing trade in albino body parts.

There was a need to educate citizens to “change their mindset (and understand) that albinos do not have any magical powers”, Isaac Katopola, deputy secretary in the social welfare ministry, told AFP.

Albinos, who are very pale due to a hereditary genetic condition that causes an absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes, are sometimes killed for their body parts for use in witchcraft.

Katopola said “officially six albinos have been killed” since a surge in attacks began in December, while UN agencies in Malawi put the figure at nine.

There was also “continued exhumation of albino remains for their bones”, he said.

The two-month probe, which is being supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund and UN Women, will also establish “where the market for body parts is among Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania”.

“There is something going on and this will help us to undertake appropriate interventions,” Katopola said on the sidelines of a colourful celebration of albinism.

Suspects arrested in killings, abductions and those in possession of albino bones have said they sell body parts of albinos in Mozambique and Tanzania.

The awareness day was attended by scores of young and adult albinos who braved a scorching sun — which can damage their pale skin — at a football ground located at the foot of Mulanje Mountain in the south of the country.

Boniface Massah, director of the rights group Association of People Living with Albinism in Malawi, told AFP that because of “deep cultural beliefs, Malawi had a long way to go to respond to the rights of albinos”.

Primary school teacher Bertha Maleya, 28, an albino herself, urged the government “to take tough measures against albino killers and charge them with murder.”

“We are living in fear since the attacks began,” she said.

Julita Deleza, 30, with her albino daughter Jacquiline strapped to her back, said she travelled three hours to reach the venue to “hear it for myself about the safety of my daughter… I never leave her alone.”

The official UN International Albinism Awareness Day was June 13, but was delayed in Malawi. Malawi President Peter Mutharika was due to address the celebration but did not turn up.

Gender Minster Patricia Kaliati said the president was tied up with other events in the capital, Lilongwe.

Kaliati said Malawi would “strengthen policing structures to provide maximum security to our brothers and sisters right in their homes and communities.”

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box13 bilila NU
Guest

UFiti, kukhwima, umphawi,corrupt leadership, umbuli, is the main cause of this wicked activity. We need a thorough reformation, from leadership to subjects. Or else we finish each other.

frankk
Guest

Tanzanians there are the ones who brought that shit bisness in our country tplease God protect our albino brothers and sisters

kaya
Guest

May God be with and protect all our albino brothers and sisters

nyasa boy
Guest

Once again Malawi must stop businesses with Tanzania and chase all taifas in Malawi we don’t need our brother and sister’s living in fear

Samson nyirongo
Guest

All albinos don’t fear cause God’s greater than all in this world without wonder & he’ll guide u from the enemies..Am so sorry pple.

Samson nyirongo
Guest

Don’t do that pple of malawi, cause malawi’s a warm heart of africa. Please my brotheren.

mnyamata oyikonda nyasatimes
Guest

Hey! Activists must learn to say one thing n stick to it. U always say ufiti kulibe but now u r saying albinos r killed for their body parts to be used in witchcraft. ine basi confused. Politics not part of these killings unless otherwise!

We need to learn to live in peace. if u want to get rich work hard but leave bloodshed out of the equation. ndalama zomadya cheu cheu ndi chitodzo azanga.

Ndalama zako koma no peace of heart. malamulo mbweee! God gonna certainly punish u ppo who kill our brothers n sisters for rituals.

kenkkk
Guest

We didn’t have such killings during Kamuzu era or bakili or bingu or even jb? Why this is happening under apm dpp watch?

Moya
Guest

Dont waste resources we all know the root cause is “poverty” people seeking ways to get rich and comes the witch doctors who influence the poor who are ignorant most times to kill albinos. Thats why cashgate is making people more poorer and seeking services of these witch doctors. Deal with the economy and deal with the witchdoctors then sensitize the villagers about the evils related to killing innocent people like Albinos and others.

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