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.
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Published: May 3, 2019 By: Reuters – reporting by Frank Phiri; editing by Alison Williams
BLANTYRE (Reuters) – A man was sentenced to death in Malawi on Friday for killing an albino teenager in a case has become a campaign issue ahead of a national election this month, with the opposition accusing the government of inaction.
Belief in witchcraft is widespread in rural Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries, fuelling ritual killings particularly targeting people with albinism because of the belief that their body parts can increase wealth.
In the first such punishment for the abduction and killing of people with albinism, Justice Mclean Kamwambe said he wanted to send a stern warning to would-be offenders.
“The death sentence is appropriate as it reflects a sense of justice in the circumstances,” he said at Malawi’s High Court.
The judge said the killings and abductions of albinos since 2014 had tainted the international image of Malawi, and had reduced the country to “a state of terror”.
The focus on albino murders has sparked finger-pointing amongst politicians ahead of the election on May, 21 with the main opposition party, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), accusing government of doing little to stop the killings.
The government, which formed a judicial inquiry into the killings and abductions, has denied this saying it cannot interfere in work of the police and courts.
The government has also offered cash rewards for information about the abductions and killings, which have reached at least 150 since 2014 according to the United Nations.
According to the court’s ruling, the convicted 28-year-old confessed to the murder and said he wanted to use the 19-year-old victims’ body parts to become rich on instructions from a witch-doctor in neighboring Mozambique.
The superstitions, stigmas and maiming and killing of people with albinism is visible across a number of southern and East African countries with cases reported in Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa with a lucrative market for the trade in albino body parts, in the region and internationally.
Published: September 21, 2007 By: John Zodzi – Reuters
LOME (Reuters) – Six grisly murders in Togo in which the victims were decapitated and drained of their blood have raised fears of a resurgence of ritual killings ahead of parliamentary elections in the West African state next month.
The serial killings occurred last weekend in the southern Vo and Lacs prefectures, east of the capital Lome. The victims included a 12-year-old boy and a 63-year-old woman and their severed heads were carried off by the killers.
The discovery of the headless corpses has shocked Togolese and triggered a wave of speculation that the killings were ritual murders. This is a practice still found in parts of Africa in which people kill to obtain body parts and blood in the belief they will bring social success and political power.
Police announced the arrest of four suspects, including one from neighboring Benin, the West African home of the ancient Voodoo religion, who confessed to killing the 12-year-old boy.
Togo holds legislative elections on October 14, and international observers hope they will strengthen the weak grip of democracy in the small former French colony, which like Benin is wedged between Nigeria and Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea.
In a society where traditional beliefs still have influence, some Togolese saw a link between the killings and the ambitions of aspiring candidates for next month’s polls.
“Some of these deputies are ready to do anything to keep their seats and you hear that they’re carrying out sacrifices,” said Joel Attigan, a geography student.
Others saw the murders as linked to a desire for social advancement.
“There are too many young rich people in Togo these days. These crimes are linked to these kind of people, who sometimes use human sacrifices to obtain their goals,” said Da Mensa, the manager of a bar and restaurant in Lome.
Togo’s media have joined the feverish debate, blaming shadowy religious sects in Togo and Benin.
“We are in Africa, and spilled human blood can reveal many things,” the newspaper Le Magnan Libere said, referring to the witchcraft practice of using blood or body parts for divining or influencing the future.
The police have been cautious about confirming the ritual killing hypothesis.
But they said the arrested Benin citizen, Roger Kodjo Hounguiya, had confessed that he was working for a fellow countryman, Jean Goudjo, wanted in Benin for grisly murders involving mutilation.
The European Union, which froze most of its aid to Togo in 1993 citing the poor democratic record of then President Gnassingbe Eyadema, is sending electoral observers to the polls next month. Eyadema died in 2005 and his son is now president.
Published: April 16, 2019 By: Patricia Mtungila – Nyasa Times
As the debate on whether Malawi should practically utilize the death penalty on convicted killers of people with albinism continues, United Democratic Front (UDF) shadow Councilor for Chibanja Ward Ulia Kaunda has added his voice to the discussion with a suggestion that giving the stiffest penalty in the land is what will end the increasing cases of ritual murders of people with albinism.
Myths that body parts of people with albinism work in lucky charms for fortune and power-seekers have fanned brutal attacks on people with albinism in the country.
Kaunda made the suggestion on Friday at a political debate for ward councilors organized by the National Initiative for Civic Education NICE (Trust) held at New Jerusalem Private Primary School in Mzuzu.
The debate attracted three participants; Lillian Kadango of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Chimwemwe Mhango an independent candidate and Kaunda.
The shadow councilor promised to lobby for the utilization of the death sentence for those found guilty of killing a person with albinism.
Said Kaunda: “This is a difficult issue. It is not right for a person to be killing other people just like that and these cases have been left for too long without finding the real killers and without any convictions while people with smaller crimes get stiff sentences.
“I will protect all people with albinism in Chibanja, when I am elected. I will also meet the Member of Parliament and ask him to push for the death penalty on anyone who kills an albino.”
Kaunda, a businessman, however, sent people laughing when he failed to articulate himself in English and had to ask the moderator , Emmanuel Lawyer, to allow him to speak in the vernacular Chichewa or Tumbuka.
“Sir, I will not speak English because my supporters do not speak English, they are not English. I will speak Chitumbuka or Chichewa ,” said Kaunda.
Still, independent candidate Chimwemwe Mhango concurred with Kaunda on the need for the death penalty to be applied on albino killers.
But the MCP shadow Councilor Lillian Kadango said that she would focus on strengthening community policing efforts to ensure that people with albinism are protected by the community.
While some activists in Malawi feel that if applied , the existing death penalty law could deter the syndicates involved in the abduction and killings of people with albinism.
Human rights agencies such as the United Nations, through the United Nations Development Programme are against the death penalty saying that such punishments will only lead to further dehumanization of people.
At the close of the debate in Chibanja the three panelists and local leaders signed social contracts aimed at ensuring that the councilors adhere to their campaign promises when elected.
Apart from killings of people with albinism, escalating child-prostitution, mushrooming of illegal bars and high youth unemployment rates are some of the major issues that people in Mzuzu are asking candidates in the May 21 Tripartite Elections to take a clear stand.
The Chibanja debate was part of a series of 21 debates being organized by NICE and other electoral stakeholders in Mzuzu City and Mzimba North aimed at promoting unity and tolerance among Malawians and to offer the electorate a chance to assess the would-be political leaders before polling on May 21 2019.
(….) Myths that body parts of people with albinism work in lucky charms for fortune and power-seekers have fanned brutal attacks on people with albinism in the country. Media reports indicate that over 20 people have been murdered, hundreds mutilated while many have gone missing since the killings began in 2014. (….)
On numerous occasions Liberian leaders have publicly denounced the ritual murders that take place in the country. We can mention President William Tolbert (1971-1980), Gyude Bryant (Chair of the Transitional Government after the Second Civil War, 2003-2006) and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2006-2018). The fact that the presidents Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor were not so outspoken on this subject, certainly not in public, has special reasons……..
The article below on Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s warning and reaction does not constitute the first and only time that she denounced the phenomenon of ritualistic killings in her country. More on it at a later stage. (Webmaster FVDK)
Published: November 20, 2015 By: The Guardian
Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, vowed on Thursday to crack down on those responsible for a rise in ritual killings in the west African country as it seeks to emerge from the shadow of an Ebola epidemic.
In some areas of central Africa, body parts are prized for their supernatural powers and are used in black magic ceremonies. Local media have reported at least 10 related murders in Liberia in the past few months. (Italics added by the webmaster, FVDK).
Johnson Sirleaf said in a speech: “We are witnessing the rise in what appears to be ritualistic killings and armed robbery in the country, thus threatening our security.”
“I am instructing the security forces to rigorously enforce the law to the letter and bring this ugly situation under immediate control.”
It is not yet clear why ritual killings are rising and Johnson Sirleaf offered no explanation. Some residents have speculated that presidential hopefuls seeking to replace Johnson Sirleaf when her final term expires in 2017 are using black magic to boost their chances.
Liberia was declared Ebola-free for the second time in September after reporting more than 4,800 deaths but its economy is struggling to recover.
Johnson Sirleaf said in the same speech she would seek to boost power supply and access to electricity and build additional infrastructure in the last two years of her term.
As I continue to say, both on this site and on my website Liberia Past and Present, the phenomenon of ritual killings has never completely disappeared in Liberia. Originally a cultural practice, nowadays it is closely linked to politics, elections and the greed for (more) wealth and power. At this particular moment in time it is not known what the background and linkages are of the ritualistic killings in Sinoe County disclosed here by County Attorney Cllr. J. Adolphus Karnuah. As soon as we learn more about these cases we will come back with the relevant news. (FVDK)
County Attorney for Sinoe Cllr. J. Adolphus Karnuah has disclosed that more women have been caught for ritualistic killings in Sinoe County, southeast Liberia.
Speaking to a team of journalists at the Temple of Justice on Thursday, 24 January, Cllr. Karnuah disclosed that cases of ritualistic killings have topped the docket.
He narrates that six out of 20 women were arrested by police officers, charged and placed behind bars for the alleged crime of ritualistic killings.
Cllr. Karnuah tells the interview that during the police raid, the key perpetrator was arrested, but she was very boastful in her utterances, noting that the matter would end up nowhere.
According to Cllr. Karnuah, the issue of ritualistic killing is said to be taking place in January this year in the district of Numorpor which has its own superintendent and other county officials.
According to him, one of the ritualistic killing incidents took place when the mother of a little boy left him on the farm to go out to fetch some pepper, bitter balls and other food substances for cooking.
He says upon the lady’s arrival, she realized that her son was missing.
Cllr. Karnuah explains that after days of searching without a trace of the missing boy, his father decided to use the help of a herbalist.
The lawyer says upon the father’s return, his wife was said to be part of the crime.
The county attorney says the mother made confession that she was part of the devilish club and it was now time for her to give her own son as a share of her sacrifice. But he says the lady escaped along with three other women who also confessed to be witchcrafts.
He notes that while the women were in the bush, they were pursued by some men in the community who caught and stripped them naked and gang raped them until one of the ladies identified as Wallet Nyenweh was allegedly killed in the process.
The lawyer narrates that during the trial, he ordered the body of the dead woman exhumed in other to prove the alleged gang rape which was said to have caused her death.
As mentioned yesterday (Jan. 21, 2019), technical difficulties prevent me from duplicating here the original article in the Nyasa Times (the webmaster FVDK).
VP Saulos Cilima’s remarks come after unknown assailants (probably on December 31, 2018) killed 54-year old Yassin Kwenda Phiri, a person with albinism who was working as a hospital assistant at Kande Health Center in Nkhata Bay. Chilima’s UTM party has also issued a strongly worded statement condemning the murder. Not surprisingly, Malawi will have elections in the near future, on May 23 of this year. Please also read the related article posted on January 21 on this site: ‘MP Kalindo threatens to reveal syndicate on albino ritual murders’.
Political opponents who throw stones to each other making allegations that have not been proven should be listened to – but they are not necessarily to be believed immediately. One such politician is Mulanje South Member of Parliament Bon Kalindo in Malawi. He was recently arrested in Lilongwe and was charged with two counts of allegedly misconduct and of insulting the president. MP Kalindo alleges his arrest was ‘politically motivated’. A few days after his release from prison – on bail – he was assaulted and severely beaten up.
Kalindo said his arrest has taught him a lot of things including getting to know the syndicate of albino killings. He claims that the albino killings is a syndicate and it involves senior officials with big names hence the need to stop pushing the blame on witch doctors or rituals. “I will come back to reveal everything through this program once my case is settled in court.”, he said. “I have so many revelations to make”, he added. Kalindo made history in Malawi when he led a demonstration in favour of concrete action against perpetrators of attacks on people with albinism, in what was called ‘naked’ march.
We will continue to follow this case (webmaster FVDK).
For technical reasons the original article in the Nyasa Times could not be duplicated. The summary above is based on the Nyasa Times article of January 20 (2019), staying as close as possible to the original text. (Webmaster FVDK)
Published: November 26, 2018 – 7:38 AM By: Emma Amaize
SABA—RESIDENTS of Delta State are enraged at the activities of suspected ritualists and internet fraudsters (Yahoo Yahoo plus boys) who abduct and kill citizens, especially women, make away with their vital organs and panties reportedly for money-making rituals.
There have been alarming cases of attacks and disappearances of persons at Jesse, Sapele, Abraka, Oghara, Ughelli and Warri in recent weeks.
Besides the latest kidnap, killing and harvesting of breasts and tongue of a First Class undergraduate of Delta State University, DELSU, Abraka, Elozino Ogege, which sparked the latest anger, suspected ritualists beheaded a widow at Oghara, the country home of former governor of the state, Chief James Ibori, in a similar manner, recently.
Commissioner of Police, Mr. Muhammad Mustafa, followed up on his promise, last Monday, to track down Elozino’s killers, with reports that at least four suspects, including two Yahoo Yahoo boys, a native doctor and security guard, have been arrested.
Operatives of the Special Armed Robbery Squad, SARS, stormed Effurun, last Monday, and apprehended a native doctor allegedly working with the criminals, while detectives were searching for the fleeing suspects.
PDP, Uduaghan react
Former governor of the state and All Progressives Congress, APC, senatorial candidate in Delta South senatorial district, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, took to his Facebook page, weekend, to bemoan Elozino’s killing, calling on the security agencies to be more alive to enforce the law to stop the menace of Yahoo Yahoo boys, ritualists and cultists.
He said in all the commentaries on the incidents, “there seems to be a consensus that what happened to Elozino is the collective failure of government, parents, uncles, aunties, the church and schools.”
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, on Sunday, also called on the Police and other relevant security agencies to unravel the perpetrators.
The party’s Publicity Secretary, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, in a statement, urged the Police to “ensure that adequate security measures are put in place to rid Delta State of the evil menace of ritual killing and other disciples of the dark arts operating anywhere in the state.”
A lawyer and activist, Frank Oseya, said: “Majority is of the view that it was the handiwork of ritualists masquerading as Yahoo boys.
“A minority is of the view it could be politicians, since we are in election season and the fetish ones are on the prowl to renew their ‘black power’.
“Ritual killings have become very rampant in recent times, coinciding with a worrisome upsurge in the number of very young boys riding in very expensive cars, building mansions and flaunting unexplainable wealth.”
The suspects almost deceived me—Lawyer
Human rights activist and lawyer, Maxwell Ogedegbe, who rejected a brief from some accomplices in the Elozino murder after he found out that they were Yahoo boys, said they almost misled him by accusing SARS of unprofessional conduct.
Ogedegbe said when he called Commissioner Mustafa, who requested him to get in touch with the officer in charge, SARS, he got a true picture of things.
Nigeria: Delta State Governor Okowa orders crackdown on ‘Yahoo Boys’, condoles with Ogege’s family
Published: November 26, 2018 – 8:47 AM By: Vanguard Nigeria
Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa on Monday condoled with the family of Miss Elozino Ogege, a 300 level student of Mass Communication Department, Delta State University, (DELSU), Abraka who was brutally murdered by suspected ritualists masquerading as “Yahoo boys”.
Governor Okowa who was greatly distraught by the sad development has ordered a serious crackdown on all “Yahoo boys”, ritualists and all those involved in unexplainable and sudden wealth in the state.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Charles Aniagwu in Asaba on Monday, the Governor expressed his heartfelt condolences to the family, the Isoko nation and the Delta State University Abraka community.
The Governor notes with serious concern and worry, the increasing and disturbing activities of suspected ritual killers and criminally minded individuals, whose obtrusive and flamboyant escapades are becoming more conspicuous.
“On behalf of the government and people of Delta State, It is with a heavy heart that i write to express our profound commiserations to the family of Miss Elozino Ogege, the Isoko nation, her friends, both within and outside the University community”.
“I am glad that the security agencies have made serious progress in the investigation into the murder and i can assure Deltans and Nigerians that justice will be served on the perpetrators of this dastard act.
The Governor appreciates the solidarity exhibited by Deltans and Nigerians in condemning the bizarre act and urged security agencies in the state and country to commence a massive crackdown on these criminal elements veneering as “Yahoo Boys”.
“As a government whose primary responsibility is the protection of lives and property as well as the welfare of her citizens, i urge Deltans and Nigerians to partner with the government and report to security agencies the activities of these gangs with a view to asistting the society get rid of such dangerous groups. Never again as a people shall we condone the activities of these known criminals as we all seem to agree that “enough is enough”.
“May the soul of Miss Elozino Ogege and all those who lost their lives in similar circumstances find eternal rest in the bosom of God Almighty,” the governor wrote.
Nigeria: Outrage in Delta State over killings, abductions by suspected ritualists, Yahoo Yahoo boys
Published: November 25, 2018 – 12:47 PM By: Emma Amaize
ASABA- RESIDENTS of Delta State are enraged at the activities of suspected ritualists and “Yahoo Yahoo boys,” who abduct and kill citizens, especially the female folk, make away with their vital organs and panties for moneymaking rituals.
There have been alarming attacks and disappearances of unsuspecting victims at Jesse, Oghara Sapele, Abraka, Oghara, Ughelli and Warri in recent weeks.
Besides the latest kidnap, killing and stealing of breasts and tongue of a first- class undergraduate of Delta State University, DELSU, Abraka, Elozino Ogege , which sparked the latest anger, suspected ritualists beheaded a widow at Oghara, the country home of former governor of the state, Chief James Ibori, in a similar manner, recently.
Elozino’s killing was very pathetic for they abducted and whisked her to a hideout where they dismembered her despite her fervent cry for mercy.
However, Commissioner of Police, Mr. Muhammad Mustafa, followed up on his promise, last Monday, to track down the killers of Elozino with reports that at least four suspects, including two Yahoo boys, a native doctor and security guard have been arrested.
Operatives of the Special Armed Robbery Squad, SARS stormed Effurun, last Monday, and apprehended a native doctor allegedly working with the criminals, while detectives were combing for the fleeing suspects.
Former governor of the state and All Progressives Congress, APC, senatorial candidate in Delta South senatorial district, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, took to his Face Book page, weekend, to bemoan the dastard killing of Elozino, calling on the security agencies to be more alive to enforce the law to stop the menace of Yahoo Yahoo boys, ritualists and cultists.
He said in all the commentaries on the dastardly act, “There seems to be a consensus that what happened to Elozino in the hands of ritualists is a collective failure of government, parents, uncles, aunties, the church, schools.”
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, on Sunday, also called on the police and other relevant security agencies to unravel the perpetrators of this terrible act bring them to book.
Publicity secretary, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, in a statement, urged the police to “ensure that adequate security measures are put in place henceforth to rid the entire Delta state of the evil menace of ritual killers and other disciples of the darks arts operating anywhere in the state.”
“The brazen way and manner surrounding the abduction and subsequent murder of Miss Ogege and the subsequent discovery of her mutilated and decomposing remains, suggests that a throbbing yet frightening cartel of ritual killers and diabolic groups of cultist, is possibly thriving and operating unhindered and with conniving complicity of the town folks of the communities,” the party said.
A lawyer and activist, Frank Oseya, said, “Majority opinion is of the view that it was the handiwork of money ritualists masquerading as yahoo boys. Minority is of the view that it this could be politicians at work since we are in election season and the fetish ones are on the prowl to renew their ‘black power’.”
“Ritual killings have become very rampant in recent times, coinciding with a worrisome upsurge in the number of very small boys riding in very expensive cars, building mansions and flaunting unexplainable wealth,” he said.
Oseya blamed parents who flaunt their yahoo children’s illicit wealth without questioning, government that provided no job for the teeming unemployed for the madness.
Human rights activist and lawyer, Maxwell Ogedegbe, who rejected a brief from some accomplices in Elozino murder after he found out that they were yahoo boys, said they almost misled him by accusing SARS of operatives of unprofessional conduct.
Ogedegbe said it was when he called Commissioner Mustafa, who requested him to get in touch with the Officer in charge, SARS, that he got the true picture of things.
Published: November 22, 2018 – 8:10 AM By: Vanguard Nigeria
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Delta State University, Abraka Branch (ASUU-DELSU) has raised alarm over the activities of ritual killers in the University town, and especially condemned the recent killing of Elozino Joshuala Ogege, a 300 level student of Mass Communication.
In a statement jointly signed by the Branch Chairman, Professor Abel Diakparomre and Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Ufuophu-Biri, the Union condemned the abduction and subsequent murder of Miss Ogege.
While the Union commends the speedy response of the University, the Police and other security agencies to the report of Miss Ogege’s disappearance and their final unraveling of the young lady’s fate and apprehension of dastardly act, the Union, in its statement called on the State Government, Security Agencies and the Abraka Community to synergize efforts to keep Abraka free of criminality.
The Union noted that the Delta State University, over her short period of existence has become a reputable institution and one of the most sought after universities in Nigeria. The Union thus called on all relevant agencies not to allow the University’s name to be tarnished by criminal elements who now brazenly identify themselves as “yahoo boys”.
The Union leaders added that the surging criminality in the town does not only pose danger to the students and staff of the University and other residents of the town but is also a slur to the entire image of the State and the Nation. ASUU-DELSU while sympathizing with the parents of Elozino and the Mass Communication Department, described the death of the First Class student as an irreparable loss.
It would be recalled that Miss Ogege was declared missing last Thursday but concerted effort by the Police and the Delta State University authority led to the arrest of a key suspect at Abraka. The suspect later made confessional statements at the Police headquarters that led to the arrest of two other suspected “yahoo boys” with whom the first arrested suspect allegedly murdered Miss Ogege.
Salif Keïta dénonce le sort tragique des albinos «vendus en pièces détachées»
Salif Keita rejects the tragic fate of albinos “sold in pieces”
Malian singer Salif Keïta at a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya, on August 25, 2015 ringing alarm bells about the tragic fate of albinos in Tanzania where presidential elections will be held shortly. Le chanteur malien Salif Keïta, lors d’une conférence de presse à Naïrobi (Kenya) le 25 août 2015. Il avait tiré la sonnette d’alarme sur le sort tragique des albinos en Tanzanie à la veille des élections présidentielles dans ce pays.
Published: September 21, 2018 – 2:48 PM
By: Martin Mateso
There is no reason to lean back even though the disaster is widespread, repeats Malian singer Salif Keïta. He prepares an international conference on the tragic fate albinos are facing, planned for November 2018 in Bamako, Mali. Everywhere on the African continent, people with albinism are being chased by ruthless criminals who commit their heinous crimes unpunished.
Salif Keïta is still in shock after the ritualistic killing of a 5-year old Malian girl, Ramata Diarra, who was abducted by armed men who beheaded her, in Fana (Mali) on May 13, 2018 and fled with her head.
Ritual murders that go unpunished
A suspect was arrested but the authorities have never published the results of the investigation held after the murder of Ramata Diarra. For this reason the Malian singer is worried. He fears that in the end this crime will be another murder case that will never be solved.
(…) “Each time when elections are being held, two, three, even more than ten albinos disappear” Salif Keïta accuses. (…)
Translated by the webmaster FVDK.
The original article, in French, is much longer and reads as follows:
Il n’est pas question de baisser les bras malgré l’ampleur du désastre, martèle le chanteur malien Salif Keita. Il prépare, pour le mois de novembre 2018 à Bamako, un forum international sur le sort tragique des albinos, décimés aux quatre coins du continent africain, en toute impunité.
Salif Keita est encore sous le choc depuis qu’une fillette malienne de 5 ans, Ramata Diarra, a été enlevée par des hommes armés qui l’ont éventrée et décapitée, le 13 mai 2018 à Fana, dans le centre du Mali. Sa tête a été emportée par ses ravisseurs.
Des crimes rituels qui restent impunis
Un suspect a été arrêté par la police, mais aucune suite de l’enquête n’a été rendue publique. D’où l’inquiétude du chanteur malien. Il a peur que ce crime s’ajoute à une série d’autres dont les enquêtes n’ont jamais abouti.
«Les albinos veulent vivre sans être poursuivis, sans être vendus en pièces détachées… Nous comptons sur les avocats extérieurs, pas sur les avocats maliens pour nous aider à creuser ce problème. Nous allons nous battre pour cela», a-t-il déclaré à la presse en lançant une campagne de sensibilisation sur l’albinisme.
Des Noirs à la peau blanche
Salif Keita est lui-même atteint d’albinisme, une maladie héréditaire qui provoque une absence partielle ou totale de pigmentation de la peau, des cheveux et des yeux. Des Noirs à la peau blanche perçus comme une malédiction.
Les personnes albinos font l’objet de crimes rituels perpétrés par ceux qui leur attribuent des pouvoirs magiques. Leurs organes sont particulièrement recherchés lors des élections par ceux qui sont convaincus qu’il s’agit d’arracher le membre d’un albinos pour remporter un scrutin. Le calvaire de la petite Ramara Diarra a précédé de peu l’élection présidentielle malienne organisée en juillet et en août 2018.
«Chaque fois qu’il y a des élections, il y a deux, trois, voire une dizaine d’albinos qui disparaissent», s’insurge Salif Keita.
Salif Keita, la voix des albinos
Depuis plusieurs années, le chanteur malien lutte contre la folie meurtrière qui frappe les albinos. Il a créé en 2006 la Fondation Salif Keita pour défendre leur cause. La campagne qu’il vient de lancer, en partenariat avec d’autres associations maliennes et ouest-africaines, vise à changer le comportement de ses compatriotes envers les personnes qui vivent avec cette anomalie.
Salif Keita a lui-même été discriminé, méprisé, injurié et humilié avant de se réfugier dans la musique et de connaître un succès international. Il est devenu la voix des albinos à travers le monde et particulièrement en Afrique où il se bat pour leur protection et leur insertion sociale.
«Il est inacceptable que des êtres humains en sacrifient d’autres. C’est le produit de l’ignorance. Les albinos naissent et grandissent comme tout le monde. Ils ont besoin d’être aimés et considérées comme des personnes normales», avait-il confié à l’AFP lors d’une visite en Afrique de l’Est en août 2015.
Salif Keita achevait une visite en Tanzanie où des hommes politiques sont régulièrement accusés d’acheter des membres d’albinos pour faire de la sorcellerie ou pour fabriquer des porte-bonheurs. Selon des experts des Nations Unies, leurs membres sont négociés aux alentours de 600 dollars. Les corps entiers pouvant atteindre 75.000 dollars.
Dans la vidéo ci-dessous, Salif Keita raconte son enfance difficile et le combat qu’il a dû mener dans une société qui le tenait à l’écart (Les albinos d’Afrique, victimes de croyances archaïques, un sujet réalisé par Eleonore Abou Ez pour France Info).
The above illustration is a screenshot of the original. No link attached. Please follow the link in the original article – see “Source” below – to view the video (in French). In the video, Salif Keïta speaks out about the insults, discrimination and other difficulties he had to endure when he was young and his struggle to gain a decent place in the society that rejected him (Albinos in Africa, victims of primitive beliefs, video made by Eleonore Abou Ez for France Info).