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.
The Luweero Grade One Magistrate, Ms Maxensia Namagembe has remanded a witch doctor and his wife to Butuntumula Prison in Luweero District over alleged murder.
Armstrong Nsubuga and his wife Rachael Talikuleka of Kyakatula-Butikwa village in Kikyusa Sub county were remanded on Monday.
The two were allegedly found in possession of a fresh human body. According to the statement of offense, Nsubuga and Talikuleka and others still at large, killed an unidentified man and buried his remains in the backyard of their shrine on January 30, 2019.
Ms Namagembe didn’t allow the duo to plead to the charges since the matter is beyond the jurisdiction of the magistrate’s court. She remanded them until March 2019 when they will return for the mention of their case.
In a statement at Luweero Central Police Station, Nsubuga confessed that the unidentified man was brought to him by one of his clients for a ritual sacrifice to acquire wealth.
He reportedly told police that they killed him, removed his liver, roasted it and ate it as part of the ritual.
Nsubuga was arrested on February 2, after residents suspected him of killing a one Moses Busobozi in a ritual sacrifice.
However, Mr Busobozi later showed up moments later.
But this did not stop police from searching Nsubuga’s house where a fresh human body and the remains of other unidentified people were found in eight shallow graves.
To date, police have not identified the man whose body was found at Nsubuga’s home.
It is still lying at Mulago Hospital Mortuary. The other human remains were taken to the Government Analytical Laboratory in Wandegeya in Kampala City for examination.
Residents have since burnt down Nsubuga’s house and shrines to protest of his alleged ritual murders.
In August last year, Police arrested Owen Ssebuyungo, a witchdoctor based in Kisoga Village in Nazigo Sub-county in Kayunga District and recovered five bodies from his shrine.
He confessed to murdering Mirembe Zuraika who had visited his shrine for exorcism against evil spirits. Sebuyungo told detectives at Nagalama Police Station that he was advised by fellow witchdoctors to kill Mirembe to get more wealth.
The case reported below is – very likely – the top of the iceberg, as we call it. More than 20 years ago, at least 17 ritual murders were committed in Equatorial Guinea, in only a 3-months period, from August – October 1997. An analysis of these incidents will follow later (the murders may have coincided with elections). We hope that these heinous crimes will have stopped after that date, but there is no indication it really was the case – reporting as such may not be a reliable indicator. For the time being we offer you this case. As soon as we have more to publish we will do (webmaster FVDK).
Published: October 6, 1997 By: Amnesty International
Matías Evung was sentenced to death on 2 October 1997 after being found guilty of a ritual murder. He was accused of removing the eyes, tongue, ears and genitals of a 10-year-old girl he had abducted. He was tried in Bata, the capital ofEquatorial Guinea’s mainland region of Río Muni.
According to official figures, at least 17 ritual murders have been committed in Equatorial Guinea since the beginning of August 1997. The government-owned radio is reported to have said that the death sentence was meant to discourage further killings.
The case reproduced below refers to the trial of Sepeni Popo who in 2006 was found guilty of killing a Molepolole woman, Binki Balotlegi, in what was believed to be a ritual murder. Sepeni Popo was sentenced to death.
I first reported this case – many, many years ago – on my website ‘Liberia: Past & Present of Africa’s oldest Republic‘, notably on the page ‘Ritual killings in other Sub-Saharan countries: Lesotho‘. The case of Sepeni Popo is one of the rare cases still available online. Unfortunately, most links referring to cases of ritual murders reported on these country pages have gone missing over the years, reason why I decided to adopt another approach on the present web site: reproducing literally the articles concerned, but with extensive reference to its origin, giving the original author and publishing house or web site all credits they are entitled to. (Webmaster FVDK).
Published: July 26, 2007 By: Lekopanye Mooketsi
Death row inmate fails to get Court of Appeal reprieve
The fate of death row inmate, Sepeni Popo lies with President Festus Mogae, after he failed to get a reprieve at the Court of Appeal this week. The condemned prisoner can only escape the hangman’s noose if the President exercises his prerogative of mercy to save him. But Mogae, a confessed retributionist, has never pardoned a death row convict.
Popo was sentenced to death last year, by the Lobatse High Court for killing a Molepolole woman, Binki Balotlegi in what was believed to be a ritual murder. He confessed that he was promised P1,000 for the murder. Three other men who were charged with him were later acquitted and discharged of murder.
In his appeal, Popo’s lawyer, Themba Joina argued that the trial judge, Ian Kirby was wrong in failing to recuse himself and that the confession statement by his client was wrongly admitted in court.
He submitted that the judge should have found extenuating circumstances and refrained from passing a death sentence. The defence wanted Kirby to recuse himself from the case because at the time it was registered, he was the Attorney General and as result he might have been an interested party. However, the Court of Appeal ruled that there was no need for Kirby to recuse himself since he did not directly deal with the case when he was Attorney General.
Joina argued that there was no evidence that Popo had been advised of his right to legal representation before the confession statement was taken. He added that the court erred in not ordering a trial within a trial before admitting the confession statement.
Joina submitted that the hand written statement was not produced in court and there was no evidence as to what happened to it. He said the original statement was the only document which could prove to the court what actually transpired when the confession was made.
The Court of Appeal ruled that that it was clear from the evidence that Popo freely and voluntarily made the statement to a judicial officer. The court was of the view that this was a particularly brutal murder and the injuries were horrible.
The court ruled that the murder was deliberately planned for a reward. In dismissing the appeal, the judges said there was no evidence to diminish Popo’s moral culpability.
In his confession statement, Popo said a man asked him and his colleagues to get a baboon without fur. He said when they asked him what he meant, the man said he wanted them to find a woman’s private parts for him. Popo said each of them was promised P1,000 after delivering the goods. He said he later arranged with his accomplices to find out what the man was looking for. He went into detail about how they found their prey.
After a drinking session, they later led a woman to an isolated spot where they brutally attacked her. Popo said after they killed the woman, one of his partners cut off a piece of her private parts.
He said they parted after the job was finished and he went to sleep. Panic struck him the following morning when he realised that his cap was missing. “When I recalled carefully I came to the conclusion that it was left at the crime scene,” he said.
The confession statement narrates what Popo did up to the time when police spoke to him, including washing his clothes to remove blood stains. He told the judicial officer about his unsuccessful attempts to get the promised payment after the mission was accomplished.
Further to my previous reporting on a spate of ritual murders in Tanzania – see my posting dated February 4, 2019 – more news about these heinous crimes. The Tanzanian authorities have acted swiftly, and arrested a number of businessmen suspected of involvement in the ritual killing of innocent children. The rule of law must prevail which also implies a decent and impartial trial. (Webmaster FVDK).
10 prominent businessmen arrested for ritual killing of 14 children
Published: February 4, 2019 By: Tireni Adebayo – KemiFilani News
The Speaker of the Tanzanian National Assembly, Job Ndugai, on Monday said that Tanzanian police have arrested 10 businessmen in connection with the recent killing of 10 children in the country.
Ndugai said the men were arrested in Njombe and Makambako towns.
The Speaker announced the arrest as four more children were reportedly killed in Njombe region over the weekend, bringing to 14 the number of children killed in the region over superstitious beliefs.
Parents have stopped working to enable them to escort their children to and from school, he said.