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

Why are albinos being murdered in South Africa?

Fortunately, I am not the only one worried or angry about the mutilating and murdering of people living with albinism in sub-Saharan Africa. We have people like Anas Aremeyaw Anas, the famous Ghanaian undercover reporter, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Overstone Kondowe, director of the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi, Richard Rooney in Swaziland, Kassim Kazungu, President of the organization Albinos without Borders in Burundi (‘Association Albinos sans Frontières de Burundi’) and – last but not least, the people running Under The Same Sun, an organization fighting for the rights of Persons with Albinism in Tanzania, headed by Peter Ash. And there is Tom Head.

I read his piece on ‘why albinos are being murdered in South Africa’ and immediately felt the need to share it with you, the reader of this blog on ritual killings in Africa. Tom Head is, according to his own writing, a 26-year old writer and English Teacher. ‘British by birth, South African by heart. His wife is definitely his better half. Known to follow rubbish sports teams. Writes mainly about current affairs, politics and sport.’ Unquote. Judge for yourself whether I took the right decision to include his article on this site. His article dates from the end of March, this year. Thanks Tom for your precious contribution!

A luta continua – the struggle continues!

Why are albinos being murdered in South Africa? 

TOPSHOT – An albino model wearing a creation waits to access a private lounge during the fashion show at the 2017 Durban July horse race in Durban, South Africa, on July 1, 2017.

Myth and superstition threaten the lives of one of society’s most marginalised groups.

Published: March 29, 2018
By: Tom Head

In 2018, it goes without saying that no-one should be fearful of their lives because of what skin colour they were born with. However, this is very much a reality for albinos in sub-Saharan Africa.

The UN state that people who live with albinism are treated “more like ghosts than humans”*, following years of ostracisation and a general lack of public understanding. Feeling marginalised by society is one thing. But being murdered because you’re different is a whole other, heartbreaking issue.

What causes albinism?

Albinism is hereditary. It doesn’t have to be passed on directly from an albino parent, but the mother or father must be a carrier of the gene for a child to inherit the condition.

When the human body fails to produce enough melanin, it affects the colourisation of the skin and its pigmentation. Around one in 20 000 people worldwide are albino.

Why are albinos murdered?

Their persecution is almost entirely based on myth and superstition. Witch doctors operating in southern Africa believe their body parts possess magical powers. Some think that possessing their limbs can ensure better health, and will bring good luck to the owner.

The idea is beyond ridiculous, but it is ultimately tragic. On the other side of the coin, some witch doctors also teach the idea that albinos are cursed. The crackpot theories range from the ideas that they are trapped spirits, to being the living souls of colonialist invaders.

Those living with albinism are also at risk of sexual assault and rape. The falsely-believed notion that having sex with an albino can cure HIV / AIDS is not a real scientific fact, but it is a real, terrifying threat.

Where is it most dangerous for albinos to live?

Malawi has reported “at least 18” murders of albino citizens since 2014. However, Tanzania is where the most murders occur, and that’s due to the sheer size of their albino population. It’s estimated around 7,000 people live with albinism in the country.

According to a UN report, nearly 80 albino Tanzanians have been killed since 2000. It’s reported that albino body parts can fetch “up to $75 000” on the black market.

Albinos killed in South Africa

Violence against albinos has never matched the same levels seen north of Mzansi. However, there have been some high profile cases in Mpumalanga this month that have forced South Africa to confront a horrifying reality.

A traditional healer who allegedly killed two children with albinism appeared in a Witbank court last month. Following that, the grave of an albino local was dug up in Pienaar near White River: His hands and right foot had been cut off.

Police in Mpumalanga have vowed to step up their attempts to protect the albino community. General Mondli Zuma stated this week that the “barbaric act” of dealing in body parts has to be stopped.

Misinformation and lies should never result in the death of a human being. But when they are systematically pedalled to target one specific community, something drastic has to change. Albinos can no longer be treated as ghosts, rather than people.

* – Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Source: Why are albinos being murdered in South Africa?

South Africa: Mutilated body found on the Onverwacht Road, outside Polokwane

‘Muti murders’ are typical for Southern Africa. ‘Muti’ is the Zulu word for ‘medicine’. These crimes are ritualistic murders. The murderers and the person(s) who requested the body parts thus obtained should be brought to justice. For how long people in southern African countries have been living in fear for these ‘muti murders’? It is estimated that the number of muti murders range from one per month to one per day in South Africa alone.

A few days ago, a case of a (suspected) ‘muti murder’ was reported in the city of Polokwane, also known by its former name Pietersburg, the capital of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Ordinary crimes may be disguised as a ‘muti murder’ in order to mislead the police, but isn’t it already quite revealing that as soon as a mutilated body is found, one thinks of a ‘muti murder’? (webmaster FVDK)

Mutilated body found on the Onverwacht Road, outside Polokwane

Published: May 29, 2018

POLOKWANE – Police have launched a manhunt for unknown suspect(s) following the discovery of a mutilated body on Monday afternoon, 28 May.

According to police spokesperson, Lt Col Moatshe Ngoepe, police received a tip off from the community about a body that was dumped in the bushes near the Onverwaght road, a few kilometres outside Polokwane.

“Upon their arrival, the mutilated body of a man in his forties was found with some body parts missing. The motive for this killing is still unknown at this stage but ritual murder cannot be ruled out,” he said.

Anyone with information which can assist the police in arresting the suspect(s) involved in the murder and who can assist in the identification of the deceased, are to contact Captain Richard Boshomane at 079 894 5501; the crime stop number 0860010111; the crime line sms 32211 or the nearest police station.

Source: Weekend Bosveld Review, May 29, 2018

Related articles:

Published by Times Live, 30 May, 2018
Mutilated man’s body found, possible muti link 

Grisly ritual killing in Zimbabwe…. Body dumped on highway to disguise murder

When I read this newspaper report on a gruesome ritual killing case in Zimbabwe, I remembered what my Zimbabwean friend Muchaneta Nyambuya had told me in Monrovia in the late 1970s.
We were then both teaching at the University of Liberia and we were discussing the wave of ritual killings in the country. I asked him about these horrible practices. ‘Did they only happen in Liberia?’ ‘Did they also happen in other African countries?’ Mucha looked at me, paused, and when he spoke again he didn’t give me a straight answer, but instead returned my question: “Do you think it’s different in other countries?”
It was only much later that I became familiar with the phenomenon of ‘muti murders‘. ‘Muti‘ is the Zulu word for ‘medicine‘. ‘Muti murders’ are ritualistic murders and occur not only in the Republic of South Africa, but in other countries in Southern Africa as well. So, also in Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia, as Mucha’s country was then still called. Forty years after Mucha and I spoke about these age-old practices, apparently, some people in Zimbabwe still believe in the power of ‘muti’. (webmaster FVDK)

By Lex Vambe
Published May 25, 2018

Homicide detectives in Mutare, Zimbabwe, are battling to put pieces together and solve how a man who was initially believed to have been killed in a hit-and-run accident ended up with some of his body parts missing. The mysterious incident which happened in Zimunya on Monday has left villagers with their mouths ajar with many now pointing to ritual murder.

In a bid to conceal the heinous crime, perpetrators of the ritual murder dumped the body of the deceased man in the middle of the road along the Mutare-Masvingo highway.

They wanted it to be overrun by vehicles, conceal evidence and subsequently put traffic cops on a wild goose chase. Indeed some vehicles ran over the body.

Naturally, traffic police officers attended the scene, believing it was a genuine matter that falls under their purview, but they soon raised their homicide counterparts upon realising that they have been sold a dummy.

The corpse had some body parts missing around the private parts area and finger nails.

When The Weekender attended the scene, traffic police officers had moved the body of a man, who is yet to be identified to the roadside where they conducted further examinations.

The cops, who refused to talk to the Press citing protocol, quickly contacted the homicide section and advised them that they suspected murder.

From the crime scene investigations, the road traffic incident was a decoy.

Villagers quickly gathered at the scene and they told horror cases of ritual murders that have ravaged their community in recent months.

Murder victim – Zimbabwe

They said they were now living in constant fear while some were now escorting their children to school. Walking at night in the area is now considered dangerous.

An elderly villager who only identified herself as Gogo MaSibanda said the area was now a hunting ground for criminals. She said most of the murders were being perpetrated in Chigodora and bodies were being dumped there to cloud police investigations.
“I suspect that this man was killed for ritual purposes. Whoever did it went on to dump him on the road so that the body would be run over and destroy evidence. The plan has evidently failed,” she said.

Manicapost

Source: PaZimbabwe, May 25 2018

Related article treating the same crime:
Ritual killing dumped on highway to disguise murder
By Staff reporter
Bulawayo 24 News
25 May 2018, 6:50 hrs