Why African Albinos are Hunted, Murdered, and Sold For Parts


While albinos in several African countries have long been hunted, attacked, and even killed (for their body parts, believed to bring good luck and power to witchdoctors' potions), the southern African nation of Malawi has recently seen a devastating surge in these attacks.




An albino boy plays with a self-made ball on the outskirts of Lilongwe, Malawi on March 11, 2016. ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images


A new Amnesty International report shows April 2016 was the deadliest month yet, with four Malawian albinos murdered, including one baby. In total, the report documented 18 albino deaths (with 5 more kidnapped and still missing) since 2014, with 69 total criminal cases with albino victims on the books.





An albino child sits between his parents in the traditional authority area of Nkole, Machinga district, on April 17, 2015. GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images


Most of the victims killed were done so for their organs and bones, which are believed to bring either good luck or add power to witchdoctor potions. Seventeen-year-old Davis Fletcher Machinjiri, for instance, was at a soccer game this past April when he was attacked. Malawian police said that “the men chopped off both his arms and legs and removed bones. They then buried the rest of his body in a shallow grave.”

Amnesty International notes, “Malawi’s 7,000 to 10,000 people with albinism live in fear of losing their lives to criminal gangs who, in some instances, include close family members.” Albino women also face rape threats, as some locals believe sex with an albino can cure HIV/AIDS, which is widespread in southern Africa.


Femia Tchulani, a 42-year-old Malawian albino woman, stands oustide her house on April 18, 2015 in Blantyre. GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images


While Malawi's government has repeatedly condemned the attacks, Amnesty International notes the measures have not yet proven effective, in large part because of Malawi’s widespread poverty, as attackers believe selling albino body parts can garner them large sums of money.


Mainasi Issa, a 23-year-old Malawian albino woman, carries her two-year-old daughter Djiamila Jafali as she poses outside her hut in the traditional authority area of Nkole, Machinga district, on April 17, 2015. GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images


As a United Nations report from April 2016 states, this problem is very real: If nothing is done to prevent these crimes, the group may disappear forever.






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Why African Albinos are Hunted, Murdered, and Sold For Parts Why African Albinos are Hunted, Murdered, and Sold For Parts Reviewed by matt on 13:02:00 Rating: 5
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