Malawian Albinos Are Under Threat
Malawian albinos are scared for their lives as they are being hunted for their body parts. Albino body parts are believed to be made into potions by witch doctors to bring success and wealth.
The recent surge in killings and kidnappings of people with albinism made headlines in the southern African country, as well raising concern among rights group.
According to Amnesty International, at least 18 albino people have been killed in Malawi in an upsurge in killings since November 2014. Five were known to be kidnapped and remain missing.
There is a presumption that the toll is higher because many incidents in rural areas may not be reported.
The reports that people with albinism are targeted for their body parts are true. This was proven by Malawi police who disclosed recorded cases where the bodies of people with albinism have been illegally dug out of graves.
Cases of Kidnappings
Edna Cedrick expressed her grief of losing her 9-year-old son when she recalled the dreaded night she lost him. The experience was still haunting her to this day.
In the interview with The Associated Press, the mother of the murdered boy said she woke up in the middle of the night when unidentified people kicked open the door of her house. Her husband was away at that time.
She said, “Before I could understand what was happening, they sliced the mosquito net and grabbed one of the twins,” the 26-year-old mother cried. “I held on to him by holding his waist, at the same time shielding the other with my back.”
Still struggling to protect her sons from the abductors, one assailant hacked her in the forehead with a machete. The blow led her to lose consciousness. She woke up later, realizing her son was gone.
On the same day of the interview, another gruesome murder took place. A 38-year-old Fletcher Masina, an albino father of four was attacked by unidentified men. When his body was found, the limbs were missing.
According to the rights group, the surge of killing was attributed to the belief that the bones of people with albinism contain gold. Oddly, some say sex with a person with albinism is thought to be an antidote for HIV.
In addition, widespread discrimination against people with albinism may fuel the hunt for these unique people.
Prevalence of Albinism in Malawi
Albinism is more prevalent in Malawi compared with Europe and North America. There are around 8-10,000 people with albinism in a population of 16 million in Malawi.
Albinism affects the production of melanin, the pigment that colors skin, hair and eyes. Malawi has more than 12 times the number of albinos in North America and Europe.