Malawi to crack on killers of persons with albinism

Ikponwosa Ero, a United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism. Photo: Mkhululi Chimoio
President Peter Mutharika
Ikponwosa Ero

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (ADV) – The Malawian President Peter Mutharika has committed his government to crack on people involved in the killing of persons with albinism.

This came into light when Mutharika was commenting on the murder of Yasin Phiri on New Year’s Eve at Kande in Nkhata Bay.

“My government will not shield anyone involved in the cruel killings of persons with albinism. Anyone found will be sentenced to life imprisonment,” said the President reiterating that his government would not shield anyone involved in the barbaric killing of persons with disabilities.

While speaking during the launch of Chiwanja Cha a Yao at M’manga Primary School ground in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Nsamala in Balaka, Mutharika also said that he has instructed the taskforce on abduction and killings of persons with albinism to revise the strategy that would lead to an end of the malpractice.

“Let us all work together to end these killings and let us avoid politicizing this issue. Nobody has ever become rich through selling of bones of albino,” he said.

In the last decade, close to 500 killings and more than 1000 attacks on people with albinism have been reported in 27 sub-Saharan African countries.

Media reports suggest that Tanzania has the highest number of recorded attacks globally at more than 170. There have also been reports of attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique and Burundi.

Most of these attacks are fuelled by rising demand for the body parts of people with albinism used in rituals by traditional healers, known as muti killing or black majic, juju.

The hair and bones, genitals and thumbs of people with albinism are said to possess distinct powers. Alleged to bring wealth or success, they are often dried and ground, put into a package to be carried, to be secreted in boats, businesses, homes or clothing, or scattered in the sea.

This illegal trade for body parts operates at regional, national and international levels.

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