Malawi judge sentences three to death for albinism murder

File Photo

Published: August 14, 2019
By: Charles Pensulo, Thomson Reuters Foundation

BLANTYRE, Aug 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Three people have been sentenced to death in Malawi for the murder and mutilation of a person with albinism, a court official confirmed on Wednesday, a sanction the judge said would serve as a strong deterrent. 

Malawi is one of the most dangerous countries for people with the condition, who are targeted for ritual killings because of a belief that their body parts can increase wealth. 

Douglas Mwale, Sophie Here and Fontino Folosani killed Prescott Pepuzani in 2015, using a metal bar and a hoe handle before chopping off his hands and legs and burying him in Mwale’s garden in Mchinji district, Central Malawi. 

Passing sentence on Tuesday at the High Court in Mchinji, Judge Esmey Chombo said it would act as a strong deterrent to others and help put an end to the crime. 

Another man was sentenced to death in Malawi in May for murdering a teenager with albinism – the first time the death penalty had been handed down in such a case – though he has not been executed. (Also see my May 4 posting – webmaster FVDK).

Malawi operates a moratorium on the death penalty and last carried out an execution in 1992, according to research by Cornell Law School. 

The southern African country is home to up to 10,000 people with albinism, a lack of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes. 

Their body parts can fetch high sums in an underground trade concentrated in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania. 

There have been more than 160 recorded attacks in Malawi including 22 murders since November 2014, according to human rights group Amnesty International. (italics added by the webmaster FVDK)

The government has denied accusations by rights groups that it is doing little to stop the violence. 

Overstone Kondowe, who heads the African Union for People with Albinism, said he hoped the sentence would curb the attacks. 

“This is really a big step and we want to encourage the Malawi government to continue (with tough penalties),” he said. 

“Whether they will really be hanged or not, it’s not significant. The public will still get the message.” 

Kondowe urged the courts to take a similarly tough stance with other pending cases, adding that the murders of people with albinism had fallen in Tanzania, which has imposed the death penalty in similar cases.

(Reporting by Charles Pensulo; Writing by Emma Batha; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)

Source: Malawi judge sentences three to death for albinism murder

Related articles: 

Death penalty handed down for three albino killers in Malawi

An albino boy and his friend in Luwerezi, Malawi (Wikimedia/janjacob).

Published: August 14,2019
By: RFI

Two men and a woman have been sentenced to death in Malawi after being convicted of brutally murdering a man with albinism in 2015.

The “three were found guilty of (murder and possessing human tissue) and have been sentenced to death” in Mchinji on Tuesday, judiciary spokesperson Agness Patemba told Agence France Presse newswire.

Douglas Mwale, Fontino Folosani and Sophie Jere used a metal bar and hoe handle to kill Priscott Pepuzani, chopping off his limbs and burying his body. Body parts of people with albinism are seen as magical, their limbs used in witchcraft for good luck, wealth, or to win elections.

“This ruling enhances our faith in the judiciary and solidifies our belief that we have them as an advocate in our fight to curb killings and abductions against people with albinism,” Ian Simbota, the head of the Association of People Living with Albinism, said after the ruling.

He added that he hoped it would deter others from attacking people with albinism.

President Peter Mutharika created a commission of inquiry last March after a number of people with albinism were attacked. He had come under fire for not adequately responding to the issue.

Amnesty International released a report in May showing that 22 of the 163 cases reported in Malawi since 2014 have been murders, an indication that little had been done to combat the issue.

This is the second death sentence handed down this year for albino murders. In May, Willard Mikaele, the killer of Mphatso Pensulo, 19, was sentenced to death.

Death sentences are usually commuted to life imprisonment, as Malawi has not executed any criminals since 1994.

Source: Death penalty handed down for three albino killers in Malawi

And:

Malawi court sentences three to death over albino killing

Malawi’s musician with albinism, Lazarus Chigwandali, practices his guitar and drum in front of his children before leaving his home at Likuni to go and perform at Area 3 Market in the capital Lilongwe on May 10, 2019 in Likuni on the outskirts of Lilongwe, Malawi. – Chigwandali is not the usual street musician. He is an albino, releasing a professional album, and the star of a documentary produced by Madonna. Albinos are often targeted in brutal attacks in Malawi and other southern African countries because they have white skin due to a hereditary condition that causes lack of pigmentation. (Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP)

Published: August 14, 2019
By: MalayMail

BLANTYRE, Aug 14 — A Malawi court has convicted and sentenced two men and a woman to death for killing a person with albinism, a judiciary official said today.

Malawi has since late 2014 seen a surge in attacks on people with albinism, whose body parts are often used in witchcraft rituals to bring wealth and luck.

The court found Douglas Mwale, Fontino Folosani and Sophie Jere guilty of murdering Priscott Pepuzani in 2015 using a metal bar and a hoe handle. The trio chopped off Pepuzani’s limbs and later buried the rest of the body in a garden. The “three were found guilty of (murder and possessing human tissue) and have been sentenced to death,” Agness Patemba, judiciary spokeswoman told AFP. The sentence was handed down in the western town of Mchinji on Tuesday.

This is the second death sentence handed down in the country in the past three months following one in May this year for the murder of 19-year-old albino Mphatso Pensulo in 2017.

Malawi has not carried out any executions since 1994, with death sentences commuted to life imprisonment.

Association of People Living with Albinism welcomed Tuesday’s ruling, hoping it will deter attacks on their members.

“This ruling enhances our faith in the judiciary and solidifies our belief that we have them as an advocate in our fight to curb killings and abductions against people with albinism,” said Ian Simbota, leader of the association. 

President Peter Mutharika in March appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the spate of attacks on people with albinism after coming under mounting criticism over his response to the attacks.

Albinos are often targeted in brutal attacks in Malawi – one of the world’s poorest and most aid-dependent countries – because they have white skin due to a hereditary condition that causes lack of pigmentation. In many cases, those with albinism are targeted for their body parts to be used in witchcraft.

Of 163 cases reported in the country since November 2014, 22 have been murders, Amnesty International said in May 2019, criticising impunity for the crimes. Just 30 per cent of those attacks have been properly investigated, according to official statistics. — AFP (italics added by the webmaster FVDK).

Source: Malawi court sentences three to death over albino killing

And: 
Malawi: 3 sentenced to death over killing of person with albinism – Second death sentence handed down in recent months related to violence against people with albinism.

People with albinism, of which there are up to 10,000 in the country, are often victims of brutal attacks in Malawi [Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP]

Published: August 15, 2019
By: AlJazeera

Malawi court has convicted and sentenced three people to death for killing a person with albinism.

The “three were found guilty of [murder and possessing human tissue] and have been sentenced to death,” judiciary spokeswoman Agness Patemba told the AFP news agency on Wednesday.

The court found Douglas Mwale, Fontino Folosani and Sophie Jere guilty of murdering Priscott Pepuzani in 2015 using a metal bar and a hoe handle. The trio chopped off Pepuzani’s limbs and buried the rest of the body in a garden.

The sentence was handed down in the western town of Mchinji on Tuesday.

This is the second death sentence handed down in the country in the past three months.

Another man was sentenced to death in May for murdering a teenager with albinism – the first time the death penalty had been handed down in such a case – though he has not been executed.

Malawi has not carried out any executions since 1994, with death sentences commuted to life imprisonment.

‘Big step’

In March, Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the spate of attacks on people with albinism, after coming under mounting criticism over his response to the attacks.

Overstone Kondowe, who heads the African Union for People with Albinism, said he hoped the sentence would curb the attacks.

“This is really a big step and we want to encourage the Malawi government to continue [with tough penalties],” said Kondowe.

“Whether they will really be hanged or not, it’s not significant. The public will still get the message.”

The Association of People Living with Albinism also welcomed the ruling, hoping it will deter attacks on their members.

“This ruling enhances our faith in the judiciary and solidifies our belief that we have them as an advocate in our fight to curb killings and abductions against people with albinism,” said Ian Simbota, leader of the association.

People with albinism, of which there are up to 10,000 in the country, are often victims of brutal attacks in Malawi – one of the world’s poorest and most aid-dependent nations.

This is because of their white skin resulting from a hereditary condition that causes a lack of pigmentation.

Other conditions associated with albinism include vulnerability to bright light, which can cause legal blindness.

Often, individuals with albinism are targeted in Malawi for their body parts to be used in witchcraft.

More than 160 cases have been reported in the country since November 2014, of which 22 have been murders, Amnesty International said in May 2019.

Just 30 percent of those attacks have been properly investigated, according to official statistics. 

Source: Malawi: 3 sentenced to death over killing of person with albinism

PS The original AlJazeera article contains three additional, interesting presentations, one on ‘What is albinism and what causes it?‘ (Infographic), another called ‘Africa investigates: The spell of the albino’ – 25 minutes), and a third called ‘Killed for their bones – Read their story‘, a lengthy article with lots of photos, and worth reading (webmaster FVDK).  

Harsh weather conditions killing albinos in Ghana

Persons with Albinism are trying to engage the public to help deal with climate change.
Photo: Africa Feeds Media

Published: May 21, 2019
By: Senyo Esah 

Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition that leads to a lack of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light.

Persons with albinism in Ghana are dying at an alarming rate as a result of climatic change and harsh weather conditions.

The association of Persons with Albinism (PWAs) in Ghana has lamented the harsh weather condition. It said although global warming is a worldwide headache, its members are the hardest hit by its effects.

This is because persons with albinism have peculiar skin condition.

Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition that leads to a lack of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light.

The condition is characterized by lack of melanin pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes.

Global warming records

According to co2.earth, the temperature across the global land and ocean surfaces in the year 2018 was 0.86°C (1.55°F).

That is above the 20th-century average and places October temperature as the second highest since global records began in 1880.

Director of the association of Persons with Albinism in Ghana, Newton Katseku told Africafeeds.com that the current era of global warming is a very unbearable time for his members.

He explained that due to the absence of melanin in their skins, they suffer skin cancers as a result of direct exposure to the ultraviolet rays.The association is, therefore, calling on the public to engage in tree planting and other environmental health support programmes to remedy global warming.

Newton Katseku has also called on the government of Ghana to commit resources to Sustainable Development Goal 13 (SDGs 13) which enjoins all nations across the world to adopt environmentally friendly policies to help salvage the increasing rise in global temperature.

He believes fulfilling the goal will bring relief to persons living with albinism as they will have a congenial ecosystem to survive and also contribute their quota to the well-being of the society.

Persons with Albinism are trying to engage the public to help deal with climate change.
Photo: Africa Feeds Media

Anti-albino cultural practices

According to recent statistics, as of 2009, between one in 17,000 and one in 20,000 people were albinos globally.

But in parts of Africa including Ghana persons with albinism also suffer various forms of discrimination.

In certain parts of Africa including Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa among others, albinos are killed for ritual purposes. The belief is that, using their body parts for ritual sacrifices engender success in businesses and other endeavours. (italics added by the webmaster FVDK)

In some communities in Ghana, they are not welcomed and supported.

There are ongoing public engagements with traditional rulers of some communities to amend their cultural practices that are inimical such persons.

Newton Katseku told Africa Feeds that his outfit intends to expand the engagements to other parts of the nation.

“This is as a result of our finding that certain communities in Ghana do not tolerate persons with albinism, neither do they allow them to live in the communities.

These communities are not welcoming to persons with albinism because of their cultural practices and beliefs. So, we have thought it wise to dialogue with the traditional leaders of the communities to fashion out how to amend some of their cultural practices and beliefs,” Katseku said.

The initiative is supported by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, a West African organization that promotes democratic values.

A public gathering in a community in Ghana to seek support for Albinos.
Photo: Africa Feeds Media

Source: Harsh weather conditions killing albinos in Ghana

Albino killers in Malawi charged with genocide

I don’t know whether the term ‘genocide’ is appropriate here – but who am I to criticize the Malawian government? Nevertheless, the measure of the government provides a positive signal showing that it is serious in its efforts to protect people with albinism and at the same time willing to punish the culprits of these heinous crimes against innocent people born with this characteristic. However, as usual, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Hence, we await further actions of the government of `Malawi, notably removing the image of protecting high-placed people who are allegedly involved in these horrible practices. 
(The editor FVDK)

Published: July 3, 2019
By: Henry Mhango, Report Focus news  

Albino killers in Malawi charged with genocide

Killers of persons with albnism in Malawi are from now being charged with genocide in addition to the murder charge.

This is a new approach taken by the government to eliminate the barbaric act which is leaving most of the victims in hiding , according to government legal resentatives.

The Southern African nation with a population of nearly 10 000 persons with albinism has seen an upsurge of ritual killings of the victims from 2014, a belief mostly being spread by witch doctors who claim that body parts of persons with Albinism have magical powers to bring luck in business, politics and other areas.

Firstly to be charged with the new offence are seven suspected killers of a 54 year old Yasin Phiri, who was brutally murdered in presence of his 9 year old son George,on the eve of new year, 31 December 2019.

The murderers invaded the victim’s house at night and broke into his bedroom through a window. They pounced on him , chopping off his both hands and legs before removing his intestines on the watch of his son.

A trumatised George was heavily beaten up when he querred the killers why they were slaughtering his father like chicken.

Chimwemwe Chithope Mwale , Lead Counsel for the state in the matter involving the seven suspects said the genocide charge comes in because the killers are attempting to extinct a population of persons with albnism.

“The state is of the view that the acts of killing persons with albnism are intended to wipe out of the race of the particular kind of people in this case the people with albinism,” he said.

He defended the new offence that it is in line with section 103 of the laws of Malawi.

“Indeed this is the first time we are charging the accused persons with genocide but this is an offence which is provided for by the laws of Malawi , and this is the new approach we are taking to eliminate such crimes,” he explained.

Dorothy De Gabriel , the High Court Judge handling the case immediately included the charge of which all the suspects pleaded not guilty.

Since 2014, the number of reported crimes against people with albnism in Malawi has risen close to 160 cases , including 15 murders and seven attempted murders, according to police figures .

Amnesty International, however, puts the death toll at 21.

The killings appear to be rising during elections, with most people linking it to politicians contesting in the elections.

Some suspects have even implicated government Senior officials in the crime but the implicated politicians have denied thier involvement . They are accusing the opposition political parties of funding the suspects to implicate them.

But the Amnesty International attributes impunity and delay in dealing with criminal cases involving persons with albnism as major factors fuelling the attacks against the victims in Malawi.

“The Malawi authorities must urgently overhaul the criminal justice system to protect people with albnism, who face the persistent threat if being killed for their body parts in a country where the vast majority of these horrific crimes remain unresolved and unpunished,” said Deprose Muchema, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

She expressed that “people with albnism deserve to see justice for these vile, hateful crimes against them . That it takes so long for cases to be investigated or heard in court, a sobering indictment of the systematic failures in Malawi’s criminal justice system.”

Source: Albino killers in Malawi charged with genocide

Ritual killers terrorise Lusaka, killing and removing body parts (2016 article)

Published: April 19, 2016
By: Paul Shalala – Africa blogging

Tired of discovering mutilated dead bodies, some Lusaka residents recently protested over what they term as lack of protection from the Zambia Police Service (ZPS) following the suspected ritual killings which have claimed six lives in the past four weeks.

Residents of Chunga township took to the streets chanting anti-Police slogans and calling for the killers to be arrested and jailed.

“We want these satanists to be arrested and killed. We have lost too many people and we cannot allow this to continue,” said one of the protesters who identified himself as Chimwemwe.

Today’s protest was triggered by the discovery of a mutilated body of 30 year old Anthony Mwaba of George township which was lying in a pool of blood. ZPS Deputy Spokesperson Rae Hamoonga confirmed that Mwaba’s private parts, heart and ears were removed by his killers and his body was dumped 500 meters away from his house.

“The body had no heart, both ears and private parts. We are making an earnest appeal to residents of George compound to remain calm and cooperate with the Police as we are working and trying with all legal means at our disposal to resolve this heinous crime as soon as possible,”said Hamoonga.

The wave of suspected ritual killings started on 17th March this year when four bodies of men where discovered in an area called Paradise within George township. The four had their private parts and ears removed and this annoyed the residents who protested and burnt down a Police Post in the area forcing Police officers to run for their lives.

A few days later, Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja visited the area and pleaded with the residents not to take the law into their own hands. Mr Kanganja later offered a K50,000 reward for anyone who would provide information leading to the capture of the criminals.

Since then, the Police has intensified patrols in the area but this has not deterred the killers. So far, Zingalume, Chunga, Lilanda and George townships are the areas where the killers are said to be terrorising residents.

The total number of people who have been brutally murdered and have their body parts removed are six: four had their ears, hearts and private parts missing while two had only hearts missing.

Five FM radio journalist Mike Sichula who has extensively covered the recent killings says two other bodies which were found in the area but had all body parts intact, are not in the Police tally for ritual murders.

“There are only six confirmed ritual killings including today’s. Those others were ruled out. There was the bar case where one was strangled and then the one who was found in his apartment,” said Sichula.

These killings have sent fear in the areas where bodies have been picked and residents are said to be getting indoors as early as 18:00hrs for safety. The speculation is that the killers are either business people involved in the trade of body parts or are serial killers who are taking pride in killing people for the sake of killing.

In July 2012, a 19 year old student at the National Institute for Public Administration in Lusaka, Ruth Mbandu, was brutally murdered and her naked body had its eyes and ears missing while her facial skin was peeled off.

Her lifeless body was dumped in Emmasdale, an area which is three kilometers from Zingalume, the area where the current ritual murders are taking place. Four years later, Ruth’s case is still before the courts of law and it has not yet been concluded.

TV2 reporter, Patricia Mapiki, who has extensively covered murders in the suburbs of Lusaka, says the latest cases of suspected ritual murders actually started in October last year.

“Paul, the killings in Zingalume started in October last year. Remember the 53 year old lady who was killed, then the albino, then another lady in February this year and then the four victims on 17th March,” said Patricia.

She points out that the pattern of these killings suggests that there is coordination. “What is worth noting is also that the bodies are dumped in the same area, raising suspicion that the slaughter is just in one area,” she added.

Police have so far not arrested anyone in connection with the killings and they have also not recovered the missing body parts.

Source: Ritual Killers Terrorise Lusaka, Killing And Removing Body Parts

Related:
Four male bodies with missing private parts picked up in Lusaka

Published: March 17, 2016 
By: News Desk  – Zambian Eye

Police in Lusaka this morning picked up four male bodies with missing private parts and ears in George compound near a place called The Paradise.

Police Spokesperson Charity Munganga-Chanda disclosed this in a statement made available to Zambian Eye Thursday morning. She said the two out of the four have been identified as Alex Zulu and Alias Phiri aged 21 and 18 years respectively. They were both last seen on 16th March 2016 around 18:00 hours.

The bodies were discovered by members of the public and had multiple head injuries. Preliminary investigations indicate that the deceased were dumped in the area after being murdered from elsewhere. The incident is suspected to have happened between 23:00 hours on 16th March and 06:00 hours 17th March 2016.

The bodies are lying at UTH mortuary.

“We are appealing to members of the public with information leading to the apprehension of the perpetrators to report to the nearest police station,” said Munganga-Chanda.

Source: Four male bodies with missing private parts picked up in Lusaka

And:
Four bodies with private parts and ears missing picked in George compound

Published: March 17, 2016
By: Lusaka Times

Police in Lusaka this morning picked up four male bodies with missing private parts and ears in George Compound near a place called The Paradise.

Two out of the four have been identified as Alex Zulu and Alias Phiri aged 21 and 18 years respectively both were last seen on 16th March 2016 around 18:00 Hours.

The bodies were discovered by members of the public and had multiple head injuries.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the deceased were dumped in the area after murdered from elsewhere.

The incident is suspected to have happened between 23:00 hours on 16th March and 06:00 hours 17th March 2016.

The bodies are lying at UTH mortuary.

Police spokesperson Charity Munganga Chanda has confirmed.

Source: Four bodies with private parts and ears missing picked in George compound

Tanzania: Man sells daughter for body parts in ritual killing

Published: May 12, 2019
By: AFP – Gulf news

Nairobi: A Tanzanian man has been arrested for selling his six-year-old daughter to be killed so that her body parts could be used in a potion to make him rich, police said Saturday.

A police statement said that the child, Rose Japhet, was killed last week and her body found in the southwestern district of Mbeya, in a region has been hit by a spate of ritual killings of children.

“The body was found decapitated and with the right foot amputated,” said the statement, adding the foot was found buried nearby.

“The motive of this murder was monetary. The father of the deceased took his daughter to a businessman for five million shillings ($2,000) for her to be killed and her right foot amputated.”

The businessman, who was also arrested, was meant to “give the foot to a healer so that he would make a product which would make him (the father) prosperous”, said the statement.

The businessman admitted his involvement and police are still hunting for the healer.

Mbeya is near the region of Njombe, where at least 10 children aged between two and 10 years old were found dead in January in what local media reported were ritual killings.

The United Nations condemned the killings at the time.

Such killings are not unusual in Tanzania, where albinos are often kidnapped and their body parts hacked off for use as charms and magical potions in the belief that they bring wealth and good luck.

Source: Man sells daughter for body parts in ritual killing

Tanzania – Mbeya Region

The killing of albinos is overshadowing Malawi’s election

Politicians believe their body parts boost their chances of winning

Published: May 11, 2019
By: The Economist – Lilongwe

His fists clenched on the tabletop, Bon Kalindo, an opposition mp, leans forward conspiratorially to list the magical properties of albino body parts. Place the fibula of one under a bottle of Coke and it will fizz manically, until the top pops off. Pass it in front of a torch and the light will go out. Most handily of all, a bone correctly inserted into a machine made by a reputable witch doctor will cause large amounts of cash to fly out; it’s the magnetic liquid albinos have in their bones, you understand. Sensing scepticism, Mr Kalindo brushes it aside. You are not from here, he says.

For some in Malawi, a belief in the numinous runs deep. Medicine men post flyers boasting of potions and charms to neuter rivals, punish the unfaithful or rekindle lost ardour. Such superstition is not uncommon in much of the world. But in Malawi, it can carry dark undertones. The most potent spells require ritual human sacrifice, according to a local journalist who has approached witch doctors under cover. Murders are not uncommon. Women and children are killed for their breasts and genitals. Albinos, who number no more than 10,000 in Malawi, are said to carry the most powerful magic and are thus most at risk.

You have to register to read this article in full (The Economist)

Source: The killing of albinos is overshadowing Malawi’s election

Mozambique – Events of 2017 (Human Rights Watch)

Pedro Francisco César continua à espera de notícias sobre o rapto do seu irmão /
Pedro Francisco César still hopes to get news about the kidnapping of his brother four years ago 

Published: 2018
By: Human Rights Watch

Attacks on Children and Adults with Albinism

The killings, kidnappings, and physical attacks against people with albinism continued, despite government efforts to stop the violence, including several arrests. In Mozambique and some neighboring countries, people with albinism are hunted for their body parts, which are used for witchcraft.

In March 2017, the United Nations independent expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, told the UN Human Rights Council that the situation of people with albinism in Mozambique “requires urgent and immediate attention.” She estimated that more than 100 attacks against people with albinism had occurred in Mozambique since 2014. Many of the victims are children. In September 2017, according to the police, a 17-year-old boy with albinism was killed and his brain removed, in Tete province. Four months earlier, police uncovered an attempt by two parents to sell their child with albinism in the same province. In June, the Malawian press reported that a 12-year-old Malawian boy with albinism had been killed in Mozambique, and police had arrested five people allegedly connected with the crime.

Source: Mozambique – Events of 2017 (Human Rights Watch)

Political map of Mozambique

Amnesty International Report 2017/18 – Mozambique

Foto de arquivo: Crianças albinas em Manica (2017)

Published: February 22, 2018
By: Amnesty International

DISCRIMINATION – PEOPLE WITH ALBINISM

An estimated 30,000 people with albinism experienced discrimination and were ostracized; many lived in fear of their lives. Incidents of persecution increased; at least 13 people with albinism were known to have been killed although figures are likely to have been greater. (italics added by the webmaster FVDK). The killings were fuelled by superstition or myths about the magical powers of people with albinism. Most killings took place in the central and northern provinces, the country’s poorest regions.

A seven-year-old boy with albinism was murdered on 31 January by four unidentified men who broke into his house and abducted him while the family slept, in Ngaúma district, Niassa province. On 28 May, a group of unidentified assailants abducted a three-year-old boy from his mother in Angónia district, Tete province. On 13 September, a 17-year-old youth was killed for his body parts and organs in Benga area, Moatize district, in Tete province. The attackers removed his brain, hair, and arm bones. None of those responsible for the killings were arrested or brought to justice by the end of the year.

Despite public outcry, the government did little to address the problem. A strategy was designed to stop the killings; however, this was not implemented, allegedly because of a lack of resources.

Source: Amnesty International Report 2017/18 – Mozambique

Cite as:Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 – Mozambique, 22 February 2018, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5a9938aaa.html [accessed 10 May 2019]

Political map of Mozambique

Albino boy abducted from his home in Mozambique (2018 report)

Picture not related to the case reported

Published: July 11, 2018
By: News24

A 10-year-old albino boy was reportedly kidnapped from his home in the early hours of Monday in northern Mozambique.

According to BBC, the boy’s father, Pires Ernesto, alleged that the kidnappers dug a hole in the wall of his house in the city of Lichinga in Niassa province and went straight to the bedroom where his four children were sleeping. 

Ernesto said that only his albino son was abducted. 

Police said the matter was under investigation.

A report by AFP said that albinos in Mozambique were often hunted for their body parts, which were used as charms and magical potions in the belief that they brought wealth and good luck.

More than 100 attacks against albinos in Mozambique have been reported since 2014, according to the United Nations. (bold letter type and italics added by the webmaster FVDK)

Albino boy, 10, abducted from his home in Mozambique – report

Related article:
How an albino boy was snatched from his bedroom in Niassa, Mozambique

DW / Hole made in the bedroom wall where the kidnapped child was sleeping

Published: July 11, 2018
By DW (Deutsche Welle)

A 10-year-old albino child was abducted at dawn on Monday (July 9) at his parents’ residence in the city of Lichinga. This is the first abduction of an albino this year in Niassa. The case is already in the hands of the criminal investigation police SERNIC.

Just after the country had reported a year free of abductions or murder of albinos, kidnappers infiltrated the boy’s home through a hole in the wall of the room where the child slept with his siblings.

Pires Ernesto, father of the minor, who was working on a night shift at the time of the abduction,  sadly told DW :” My brother Carlito called to tell me that my son had disappeared , when I asked him how it happened, he said they had made a hole in the wall and had taken the child out of the room, and said that they were informing the neighbours about what happened, and when I returned to the house at 1 a.m. I did not actually find the child. ”

According to BBC, Pires Ernesto, alleged that the kidnappers dug a hole in the wall of his house in the city of Lichinga in Niassa province and went straight to the bedroom where his four children were sleeping. Ernesto said that only his albino son was abducted.

The kidnapping of albinos that have occurred in Mozambique are mostly related to superstitious beliefs. It is believed that certain body parts of albinos possess magic powers and, because of this, many end up being killed or mutilated.

Resurgence of abduction causes concern

Trindade Guilherme, a representative of the association ‘Amor à Vida’ [Love of Life] in Niassa province, views the re-occurrence of albino kidnappings as a great concern and calls upon the authorities to be swifter in investigations so that the perpetrators are found and punished.

“It is sad, that there were a lot of kidnappings in the past and suddenly it was over, but this morning in the ‘Niassa I’ neighbourhood there was a kidnapping and we became worried again. We ask the police to re-double their investigative efforts so that we can live with more tranquility, ” he says.

Trindade Guilherme (DW/M. David)
Trindade Guilherme

After the incident was reported to the police by the minor’s relatives, the authorities went to the scene, said Alves Mate, a spokesman for the Niassa corporation. He assured that the police are investigating the matter, but did not give further details.

The spokesman for the police in Niassa said:”As soon as the police received the information about this incident, the utmost attention was paid to the case and it was immediately referred to SERNIC (National Criminal Investigation Service), since this is a matter that is not only for the responsibility of the PRM”,

Investigation

Alves Mate reminded us that “the investigations take a while but, at this moment, our police are already working together with SERNIC to solve this abduction case.”

In Mozambique, there are laws to protect people with albinism. However, authorities often fail to catch the kidnappers. There are few cases reported to the police and, on the other hand, police does not have all the necessary resources to hunt down the criminals.

Source: How an albino boy was snatched from his bedroom in Niassa, Mozambique

Portuguese version:
Moçambique: Recomeçam ações contra albinos no Niassa

Crianças albinas. Foto simbólica
  • Data 09.07.2018
  • Autoria Manuel David (Lichinga)

Uma criança albina foi raptada na madrugada desta segunda-feira (09.07.) na residência dos seus pais na cidade de Lichinga. Trata-se do primeiro rapto de um albino este ano no Niassa. O caso já está nas mãos do SERNIC.

Pouco depois de o país assinalar um ano sem raptos ou assassinatos de albinos, raptores infiltraram-se na casa dos pais do menino por um buraco feito na parede do quarto onde o menor dormia juntamente com outros irmãos.

Triste, Pires Ernesto, pai do menor, conta: “Quando cheguei do serviço, por volta de uma hora, o meu irmão Carlito chamou-me para me dizer que o meu filho tinha desaparecido e perguntei-lhe como é que isso tinha acontecido, pelo que me respondeu furaram a parede e tiraram a criança do quarto. Disse ainda que estavam a informar aos vizinhos [sobre o sucedido]. Quando regressei à casa na verdade não encontrei a criança”.

Angriff auf Albinos in Niassa (DW/M. David)
Buraco feito na parede do quarto onde o menor dormia

De recordar que os raptos de albinos que têm ocorrido em Moçambique estão na sua maioria relacionados com superstições. Acredita-se que determinadas partes do corpo dos albinos possuem poderes mágicos e por causa disso muitos acabam por ser mortos ou mutilados.

Ressurgimento de raptos causa preocupação

Trindade Guilherme, representante da associação Amor à Vida na província do Niassa, encara o ressurgimento dos raptos de albinos com uma grande preocupação e apela as autoridades para serem mais céleres nas investigações para que os autores sejam encontrados e punidos.

“É triste, anteriormente ocorriam muitos raptos e de repente tudo acabou. Já pensávamos que situações do género tinham acabado definitivamente. Mas esta manhã no Bairro de Niassa I houve um rapto e voltamos a ficar preocupados. Pedimos a polícia para que redobre os esforços de investigação para que se possa viver com mais tranquilidade”, lamenta.

Trindade Guilherme (DW/M. David)
Trindade Guilherme

Depois da ocorrência comunicada à polícia pelos familiares do menor, as autoridades deslocaram-se ao local como disse Alves Mate, porta-voz da corporação Niassa. Ele garantiu que a polícia está a investigar o assunto, mas não avançou detalhes.

“Logo que a Polícia recebeu a informação sobre esta ocorrência dedicou a máxima atenção ao caso que foi imediatamente encaminhado para o SERNIC (Serviço Nacional de Investigação Criminal),  visto tratar-se de um assunto que não é da competência da Polícia”, esclarece o porta-voz da Polícia em Niassa.

Investigação

Alves Mate lembra que “a investigação demora um certo tempo, mas neste momento a nossa Polícia já está a trabalhar juntamente com o SERNIC para desvendar mais este rapto.”

Em Moçambique, há leis que protegem as pessoas com albinismo. Mas, muitas vezes, as autoridades não conseguem apanhar os raptores. Por um lado, há poucas denúncias e faltam meios à Polícia.

Shown is a screenshot. The original article contains a video / audio (FVDK)

LEIA MAIS (= Read more)

Moçambique não regista há um ano casos de rapto ou assassinato de albinos

Dia Internacional para a Consciencialização do Albinismo, uma data instituída pelas Nações Unidas, celebrada este ano (13.06) sob o lema “brilhando a nossa luz para o Mundo”. (13.06.2018)   

Moçambique: 4 anos depois, rapto de albino continua por esclarecer

Família de albino raptado há quatro anos queixa-se da inércia das autoridades na resolução do caso. Polícia diz que a investigação está agora nas mãos da Procuradoria. (06.06.2018)   

Albinos beneficiam de consultas oftalmolóicas gratuitas, em Moçambique

Cerca de 100 albinos participaram de uma campanha para melhorar a visão e sensibilizar sobre os cuidados com os olhos. Ação foi encerrada este domingo (10.09), em Maputo. (10.09.2017)   

Anistia Internacional denuncia nova onda de ataques a albinos no Malawi

Malawi registou nova onda de assassinatos e ataques dirigidos a pessoas com albinismo nos últimos meses, apoiados por um sistema judicial deficiente, denunciou a Amnistia Internacional (13.06.2017)   

Source: Moçambique: Recomeçam ações contra albinos no Niassa

Mozambique: Arrests over murder of boy with albinism

People with albinism often face discrimination

Published: May 7, 2019
By: BBC – Jose Tembe – BBC Africa, Maputo

Police in Mozambique say they have arrested two people over the abduction and murder of a 12-year old boy with albinism. 

The suspects confessed to the murder, with one of them saying that they had killed the boy “to extract his bones”. A third suspect is being sought, police said. 

The 12-year-old’s body has been recovered. He was abducted from his home in the Muchelelene locality in northern Nampula province last week.

There has been a spate of killings of people with albinism in parts of southern and East Africa, with their body parts used to make charms and potions by witchdoctors.

In Mozambique, people convicted of kidnapping and killing albinos have been sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.

Source: Mozambique arrests over murder of boy with albinism
Africa Live 6-7 May, 2019 (7:25) as it happened – BBC News
Jose Tembe – BBC Africa, Maputo