In Malawi, attacking, mutilating and killing persons with albinism is rampant. Body parts of albinos are mistakenly believed to bring power and wealth. Not a year passes without one or more reports of these heinous crimes. The following example merely illustrates this and definitely is no exception.
In November 2015 three men attacked a 17-year old boy with albinism, Alfred Chikalo, and nearly killed him with the intention to sell his body parts. It was not the only case of attacks on people with albinism in 2015. Police in Phalombe district arrested the three culprits who confessed hacking Alfred Chikalo. A few weeks later, Police in Phalombe district arrested a 29-year old man, Lawo Sambani, who was accused of being the mastermind behind the plot to attack the 17-year old boy. The victim sustained deep stab wounds in the head, both arms and on the upper part of his left leg. He was rushed to the hospital and discharged a couple of weeks later.
It was announced that the four men in police custody will be brought to court. Unfortunately, since their detention, nothing is known about their trial. To be continued. (FVDK)
More details in the following articles (warning: the original articles contain a graphic picture showing the victim):
Inspired by real life events, “The Roadblock” is a creative movie depicting the story of Joseph, a humble, genius young boy with albinism.
A Restoration Films production, powered by Magic Promotions, “The Roadblock” is set for release at the end of February, 2019.
Played by Smith Kanono, one Monday morning Joseph returned from school upon seeing suspicious men coupled with a bad dream the previous night although his mother forced him to go back.
However, Joseph did not make it back home. He was killed by unknown men and after the funeral ceremony, the suspects were apprehended at the Roadblock for being found in possession of human bones. They all got sentenced.
Commenting on the movie, Magic Promotions Co-founder Chris Loka condemned the killing of people with albinism, describing the acts as “barbaric”.
“As Magic promotions, we thought it is wise to partner with Restoration films in condemning the barbaric act of killing people with albinism. They are our sisters and brothers therefore we need to protect them at any cost. It is unfortunate that they should be living in fear, and apart from that, as stipulated in the Constitution of Malawi (section 16), they have right to life,” Loka explained.
He added that the acts are uncalled for, saying people with albinism should have peace.
Loka quarried: “This is their country. Where do we think they can go and find peace? Obviously, its nowhere! Let them find comfort here. People with albinism form part of our audience when we have events. They give us support. It is therefore inhumane to be killing our supporters and audience.”
In his remarks, Restoration films Director Alex Standy said: “People think to be patriotic is only by voting or involve yourself in politics but that is not the case. We also need to be concerned with issues of national concern.”
He further added that he believes people will learn something from the film.
Written and directed by Alex Standy, “The Roadblock” was shot by Bonface Kawinga and Paul Pascal.
The movie stars Bololo (Lovemore Muluwira), Jentele (Happy Matenda) as the men dealing with bones business, Joseph (Smith Kanono) as the murdered boy with albinism and Mrs Iness Standy Katendema as class teacher at Kawale Secondary School.
Published: February 24, 2019 By: Wongani Chiuta – Nyasa Times
HRDC (Human Rights Defenders Coalition) headperson Timothy Mtambo says the State has become a suspect in the abduction of people with albinism and killing them for ritual.
Mtambo’s comments in the press follows preliminary findings of an autopsy for the late Buleya Luke, a key suspect in the abduction of a 14-year old albino boy Goodson Makanjira in Dedza, that has revealed he was electrocuted, then hit with metal bars.
Another suspect in the abduction of a 18-year old baby with albinism Eunice Nkhonjera, Donald Msafiri, 61, allegedly committed suicide a day after being interrogated by police in Karonga.
Mtambo claimed the killing of people with albinism is a result of a leadership crisis facing the country.
“This madness is happening because of leadership failure from the Commander-in-Chief, Inspector General of Police and the Minister responsible for Homeland Security. This government is a big failure and we will hold them accountable, no matter what.”, Mtambo explained in comments reported by Nation on Sunday newspaper.
The late suspect was alleged to have offered K800 000 to buy Goodson, who is still missing in Dedza.
Lule has become the third suspect to die while on trial related to abduction of persons with albinism since 2015. All the three cases have the police involved. In 2015, another suspect charged in connection with abduction of a two-year old girl with albinism in Machinga died in the hands of the police after he allegedly jumped from a cruising police vehicle. (Italics added by the webmaster FVDK).
A HRDC statement made available to Nyasa Times signed by Mtambo, said these deaths [of key suspects] smack of foul-play, adding, it is too tempting to conclude that there are powerful forces orchestrating them.
“Firstly, we strongly believe that these deaths are mafia-like planned and executed just to frustrate investigations that would lead us to alleged markets and lords behind these heinous crimes.
“Secondly, we at HRDC and indeed all well-meaning Malawians are tempted to think that those that we have entrusted with the responsibility of bringing the perpetrators of these inhumane acts are deliberately failing to do their job,” reads the statement.
The government is under fire for not doing enough to protect people with albinism as cases of attacks and killings continue to rise since 2014.
Amnesty International (AI) has since taken swipe at Homeland Security Minister Nicholas Dausi for insinuating that attacks on persons with albinism (PWA) were not yet at crisis level.
AI, a global movement of more than seven million people in over 150 countries and territories who campaign to end abuses of human rights, said in a statement Thursday that the ‘shameful denial comments’ are fuelling attacks against persons with albinism.
During a news conference in Lilongwe on Tuesday, Dausi is on record to have said that the attacks on persons with albinism were yet to get to levels where they should hold vigils at State House or seek asylum in other countries.
In the Thursday statement, AI deputy director for Southern Africa Muleya Mwananyanda said remarks by Dausi will only embolden those perpetrating the assaults and are a disturbing reminder of the government’s inaction on the issue.
She said: “The latest comments from Minister Nicholas Dausi are yet another indication that persons with albinism in Malawi are on their own when it comes to their safety and security.”
Mwananyanda has since urged the government to promptly, thoroughly and effectively investigate the recent attacks against persons with albinism and ensure that suspected perpetrators are brought to justice.
Reservations by a majority of Malawians that Buleya Lule– a suspect who allegedly offered to ‘buy’ a 14-year-old Dedza boy with albinism for K800 000 last week and died in police custody Thursday–did not succumb to natural death have been vindicated by results of a preliminary autopsy which indicates foul play.
An autoposy report filed by South African Jorge Kirk revealed Buleya sustained 3 main injuries which caused his death.
Kirk was assisted by local histopathologists Charles Dzamalala and Tamiwe Tomika.
According to their report, a head injury caused by hitting pressure from a cyclindrical metal rod was experienced.
“Bleeding in the brain was observed,” the experts say in the report. “A tummy side injury was caused by electrocution.”
The electrocution is singled out as the cause of Buleya’s death.
“Injuries on buttocks is yet to be analysed,” the experts say.
Nyasa Times has learnt that the samples are expected to be flown to South Africa where comprehensive analysis is going to continue; where, after two weeks a final report will be released for action
DNA samples have been taken for further investigations on suspects who killed him in the police cell, we have also learnt
Sainess Kalekeni, step-father of missing 14-year-old Goodson Makanjira told court, that Buleya tricked them into surrendering the boy to him with an offer of K800 000.
“I was enticed by a promise that I would get K800 000. I was told that a market is already there and I would get the money instantly which is not the case,” Kalekeni said on Wednesday, before Lilongwe Principal Magistrate Viva Nyimba.
But before Buleya and others could return to court Friday to answer the case of ‘abduction with intent to murder’, he died Thursday in enigmatic circumstances.
Calls were rife through various platforms, heightened by the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) lawyer Khwima Nchizi who sought an injuction restraining anyone from burying Buleya’s body until an independent autopsy was done.
Nchizi had argued that letting the body go without the exercise would mean “losing useful information” that would lead to busting the market for albino body parts.
Meanwhile, APAM says it will proceed with a three day vigil at Kamuzu Palace from March 3 to press the government step up security for people with albinism.
Warning: The article reproduced here contains at its end a graphic picture and video. Readers are warned that if they continue they run the risk of being confronted with the result of torture.
Rumors can never replace the truth but I thought it useful to publish here the suspicion expressed by the sister of the deceased that the sudden death of her brother while in police custody was caused by the police in an attempt to hide the identity of ‘big shots’ who are involved in the atrocities committed including the mutilation and murder of people with albinism. It is not the first time that allegations are made that a syndicate is behind the disappearance and murdering of innocent people with albinism in Malawi. See e.g. my posting dated January 21, 2019: Malawi: MP Kalindo threatens to reveal syndicate on albino ritual murders (Webmaster FVDK).
Published: February 22, 2019 By: Osman Faiti and Owen Khamula – Nyasa Times
Sister to a suspect believed to be the master minder in the abduction of a 14-year-old boy with albinism in Dedza has said the police have killed his brother in cell.
Anne Luke, sister to Buleya Luke whom the police said has died of “natural causes” whilst in police custody has doubted the police account.
“My brother never complained of any ailments. Even yesterday, when he appeared in court, he looked healthy. The police have killed him,” said Anne in tears.
She said the police never allowed the relatives to see him at Area 3 police station which she said might have been a sign that he was being tortured.
Cousin to the deceased suspect, Samson Black said the police refused his request to accompany his uncle to Kamuzu Central Hospital.
“They flatly told me I could not join them. He was half naked and it was as if his skin was peeled off by hot water,” said Black.
Luke was said to be the key suspect who recruited those who abducted Goodson Makanjira at a fee of K800 000 which he never honored.
He is said to have known the markets for the body parts of people with albinism.
Apparently, he was willing to reveal the “biggie” behind the albino killings.
The family suspect Luke has been killed to protect the “biggie” and the powerful syndicate behind the albino ritual murders from being exposed. (Italics added by the webmaster FVDK).
Most of the suspects in albino killings either die under police custody or are reported to commit suicide in suspicious circumstance
Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) president Overstone Kondowe said he was suspicious with the police version whilst Lilongwe police spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula said people should wait for an autopsy report.
On Monday, European Union Ambassador Sandra Paesen called for serious criminal investigations and coordination among countries to fight abductions and killings of people with albinism.
According to Apam, since November 2014, the number of reported crimes against people with albinism in Malawi has risen to 152 cases, including 25 murders and more than 10 people missing. (Italics added by the webmaster FVDK).
Warning: The following short video may shock people because of its graphic content. The video shows the victim. Click here to watch the video. The picture below (‘Death in police custody: Buleya Luke’) is a still from the video.
A key suspect in the abduction of a 14-year-old boy with albinism has died in police custody in Malawi.
Luka Buleya was reported dead this morning after a brief court appearance in the capital Lilongwe yesterday.
Mr Buleya’s nephew, Samson Bulaki, said the family were suspicious about his death and showed the BBC pictures of his body with multiple burns.
Police said they were waiting for the post-mortem before they discussed the cause of death.
Mr Buleya had been accused of ordering two people to kidnap the boy last week in the central region district of Dedza, some 100km south of Lilongwe.
The Association of Persons with Albinism head, Overstone Kondowe, said he hoped Mr Buleya’s death would not deny the nation an opportunity to unmask a syndicate and provide leads to a market for body parts.
Killings and abductions of persons with albinism have become a huge problem in Malawi.
Persons with albinism are hunted and killed or have limbs chopped off by people who use them for making charms they believe can make people rich or bring them good luck.
One of the key suspects who answering charges in the abduction of a 14 year boy with albinism in Dedza has died. Police say Buleya Lule, 44, was unwell and was rushed to Kamuzu Central Hospital where he died Wednesday evening but his family relations have told Zodiak online he has been “killed” in police cell.
“our relative was well when he left court Yesterday, [Wednesday] what happened during the night?” Wondered Lule’s Sister Annie Lule. “The police have killed him” She added in tears.
Buleya’s nephew Samson corroborated Annie’s version saying he was at the area 3 police when his uncle was moved on a stretcher from the cell into a police van heading to the hospital.
“I was at the court and he was very well, later in the evening when I went to give him food I was told I can’t see him, I insisted and while waited it was when I saw him taken to hospital.
Samson says he saw his uncle with burns on the thighs “like he was scotched with hot water” he said.
Public Relations Officer for Lilongwe Police, Kingsley Dandaula could neither confirm nor deny the assault allegations saying they will wait for a postmortem.
“When the suspect was reported unwell, we rushed him to Kamuzu Central where he passed on. We are yet get a postmortem report on what has killed him” says Dandaula.
At the court on Wednesday, another suspect in the case Kumbilani Patson who is Goodson Makanjira’s step dad told the court Mr. Lule offered him 800 000 kwacha for the boy.
Dandaula complained that following the death of Lule the police might have lost information relevant to the investigation.
Buleya Luke, the suspect said to have have hired and paid people to abduct a 14 year-old boy with albinism, Goodson Makanjira, has died while in police custody.
According to information that this publication has gathered, Buleya Luke was arrested following a confession by Goodson’s step father, Sainess Kalekeni, and an accomplice, Kambiloni Patson. He is said to have died mysteriously while in police custody where he was awaiting trial.
Kalekeni and Patson pleaded guilty to the charges of abducting the young child with albinism. They said Luke had promised to give them K800 000.
Buleya has died mysteriously
“I was enticed by a promise that I would get K800 000. I was told that a market is already there and I would get the money instantly which is not the case,” the stepfather said on Wednesday.
The boy who was abducted from his house over a week ago is still missing and the two suspects told the court they do not know whether Goodson was alive or not. But confessed that Goodson was still alive when he was handed over to the Luke.
“My job was simply to get Goodson and hand him over to Buleya. I would not know whether he is alive or not,” said Kalekeni.
The innocent child was abducted in the area of chief Chilikumwendo’s area in Dedza on February 13.
This year, at least five cases of attacks against persons with albinism have been recorded in the country. (Italics added by the webmaster FVDK)
Meanwhile, APAM plans to hold vigils at Kamuzu Palace to pressurise President Peter Mutharika to attack action against the attacks.
According to the association, participants in the vigil will congregate at Lilongwe Community Centre Ground and thereafter march to Kamuzu Palace where they will deliver a petition to President Peter Mutharika.
After handing over the petition, the protesters will remain at Kamuzu Palace where they will hold a vigil for three days.
But Homeland Security minister Nicholas Dausi said the attacks on people with albinism in Malawi have not yet reached crisis levels. This is despite the United Nations declaring that the genocide currently underway in Malawi has left people with albinism at the risk of extinction.
Remarks by the Homeland Security Minister has forced the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi to withdraw its membership from the presidential task force on people with albinism.
The Police are yet to comment on the mysterious death of Buleya Luke. His death has cast a dark shadow on the whereabouts of the missing 14 year old child.
Meanwhile, Malawians have reacted with horror and shock to the news of Luke’s death.
“Now i am scared more than ever. Shocking😢😢😢” wrote Louis Makungwa on Facebook.
Others have alleged that Dausi’s remarks were foretelling of what would before the suspect, saying government is protecting people behind the abductions and killings of people with albinism.
Joseph Kanyunya Moyo commenting on our Facebook, had this to say on Buleya’s death: “It’s the weakness of DPP government. How can this happen swiftly and within a short period of time. The government doesn’t want information to be revealed. This was a person who should have been protected and care for owing to the fact that revelations regarding these barbaric acts on people with albinism will be made. Poor govt.”
A man who was suspected to have had a hand in the abduction of an albino person in Dedza has been found dead in police cell today, police have confirmed.
Luke Buleya was nabbed together with other five suspects in connection to the missing of 14-year-old Goodson Makanjira who went missing some weeks ago.
Yesterday, Buleya was brought before Lilongwe Magistrate Court where he appeared as if he was having some seizures but many thought he was only faking.
Two other suspects told Lilongwe Magistrate Court that Buleya offered them a sum of K800, 000 hence the abduction of the young albino boy.
The death of Buleya is therefore a big blow to justice on albino killings as it was expected that he could have been the one to reveal where body parts of albinos are being sold.
Buleya and five other suspects including the step father of the victim are facing charges of abducting in order to murder contrary to Section 261 of the Penal Code and unlawful wounding contrary to Section 24 of the Penal Code.
Meanwhile, police spokesperson James Kadzadzera said police will give more details on what has led to the death of Buleya.
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)
Cassim Jaffalie, three, with his friends at his family home in Machinga, southern Malawi. His father has given up work to protect his son. Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP
Being born with albinism can be a death sentence in Malawi. With 22 recorded murders in the past four years, dozens more people have been reported missing – suspected abducted and killed.
Now an association of people with albinism in Malawi has announced it will put forward six candidates for next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, in an unprecedented move to combat stigma.
Malawi is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for people living with albinism – a lack of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes – who are targeted so that their body parts can be used in magic potions and other ritual practices.
The unprecedented rise in ritual and witchcraft-related killing for body parts that has also been documented in Tanzania and Burundi has led to the UN creating a special mandate to protect people with the genetic disorder.
Overstone Kondowe, director of the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi, said fielding political candidates would go a long way in changing how people with albinism were viewed in Malawi.
“We want to show the public that we are more than our skin,” he said.
Elizabeth Machinjiri is one of those planning to stand as a member of parliament in Blantyre. The director of a local charity, Disability Rights Movement, Machinjiri said her experience was key.
“What I have seen is that disability issues are ignored in the country,” she said. “In our parliament there are only one or two people that have a disability. I understand one will not even [stand in] the next election. We need to be represented. Other people may not understand the pain and hard things that we go through every day.”
Machinjiri said she would lobby for schools and hospitals to be disability-friendly.
“Mostly people choose [an MP] because they are rich. I am saying no, because that money is personal and cannot be used for developmental projects. Once elected, I will make sure that I present the voices and wishes of people living in my area and not only my views.”
Machinjiri said that stopping abductions of people living with albinism in the country will take huge political will. She may not find it easy to convince people, and still has to raise money to fund the campaign process.
“We need political commitment in fighting this,” she said, emphasising that attacks are becoming more commonplace. “People should know that I am standing for a reason. I won’t hide evil since I am a courageous person.”
Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Cecilia Chazama: Malawi Police has a six-point safety strategy to foil albino ritual killing in the country
Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Cecilia Chazama has said Malawi Police has a six-point safety strategy to foil abduction and albino ritual killing in the country.
In a ministerial statement presenter in Parliament in Lilongwe on Fridayon the status of cases handled by the Malawi Police related to attacks on persons living with albinism, Chazama said the strategies include planting informants across the country who will provide police with tips on criminal syndicate.
Chazama said government has embarked on the strategies to ensure greater safety for people living with albinism while they enjoy their normal interactions with their community members.
The minister said community leaders will also be involved in the strategy.
In his contribution, Member of Parliament for Mulanje South Bon Kalindo suggested that people living with albinism be given their own, well-guarded village.
Kalindo said his suggestion for safe albino villages was an idea he learnt during a recent visit to Mongolia, in China, where those ostracised for their skin pigmentation problems live in special villages.
But Chazama said it was improper to isolate any group of people, even if it were for security reasons.