Albino hunters is the nickname for the criminal gangs often brandishing machetes, knives and axes with the sole aim of striking fear into the hearts of people living with albinism in Malawi. They abduct and kill victims both in broad day light and in the dead of the night. The spate of attacks has actually led police in Malawi to declare a shoot to kill policy in the country.
See Also: Namibia Grapples With Passion Killings
One boy kidnapped just last week had been a mere nine years of age, he’d been snatched from Malawi’s eastern district of Machinga and his mother who had tried to rescue him from the hands of his two kidnappers had been injured by the kidnappers. The severed head of the boy was later discovered, with reports like this, it’s no wonder that along with the shoot to kill directive, the police have also declared that albinos are an “endangered species”.
There has also been a shocking revelation by the police that some audacious people are digging up and desecrating the graves where albinos have been buried to get the bones. The body parts are used in rituals that are purported to bring about power and good luck.
Nicholas Gondwa a police spokesperson was quoted as saying; “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.”
A circle of violence has also emerged from the anger and pain of community members as they have instituted a type of mob justice where anyone that is discovered in possession of bones are attacked and killed by community members. This method of mob justice however does not in any way stem the trend of violence, a more rewarding approach would be to allow the police do their work no matter how slowly, while the public is engaged in raising awareness and demystify myths that support the misconception that albino body parts bring power and good luck.