The persecution and attack on albino people in Malawi has reached alarming levels with the emergence of criminal gangs reportedly called “albino hunters” wreaking havoc in the country.
The lives of people with albinos remain precarious, with reports that a severed head of a 9 year-old albino boy recently abducted in eastern Malawi has been found.
More shocking is the revelation made by the police that some people are digging up and desecrate graves where people with albinism are buried to get the bones.
“Just imagine, there are even some daredevils who go to cemeteries to dig graves where people with albinism were buried,”
“All that is done in the name of hunting for the body parts or bones of albinos,” Nicholas Gondwa, a police spokesperson revealed.
While the police authorities have ordered officers to shoot-to-kill perpetrators of violence, the deep seated beliefs around the East African region continue to result in abductions and murders.
Recently, community members, frustrated with the criminal justice system, have resorted to mob justice, attacking and killing people found in possession of human bones, essentially enabling a vicious circle of violence.
However, the mob justice approach is problematic and cannot guarantee protection to albino people. Rather a multi pronged approach is needed, which include an extensive educational awareness programme to demystify and debunk the misconceptions that albino body parts bring power and good luck.
Moreover, there is need to campaign for tougher legislation to protect albino people from being harmed or killed.