Attacks on Malawian albinos condemned

01 May 2015

AP

Widespread issue: Said Abdallah recovers after losing his left hand in an attack, in Morogoro hospital, Tanzania, in April, 2010 

Widespread issue: Said Abdallah recovers after losing his left hand in an attack, in Morogoro hospital, Tanzania, in April, 2010 

THE "evil" perpetrated against people with albinism in Malawi must be uprooted, an Anglican Bishop has said.

The chairman of the Anglican Council in Malawi, the Rt Revd Brighton Malasa, spoke out after a surge on attacks on people with albinism in East Africa, where at least 15 have been abducted, wounded, or killed in the past six months.

In Malawi, at least six incidents were reported in the first ten weeks of the year, the UN said in March. In the south of the country, groups of men are said to be hunting for people with albinism.

In January, a 68-year-old woman with albinism went missing; her dismembered body was found the next day.

Children have also been targeted, in attacks which are "often motivated by the use of body parts for ritual purposes", the UN said. The Red Cross reports that witchdoctors have been known to pay as much as $75,000 for a full set of albino body parts.

Bishop Malasa has called for a "concerted effort to curb this immorality. . . I call upon every person . . . to step up efforts and resources in combating this evil."

Last Friday, a research fellow at the School of Education at the University of Birmingham, Dr Paul Lynch, suggested that "the Church could play an important role in dispelling some of the myths that exist around albinism."

His research into improving the educational inclusion of children with albinism in Malawi found that they "faced multiple prejudices, and experienced insecurity in their communities and at school, which led to feelings of anxiety and disablism."

It is estimated that up to one in 2000 people in sub-Saharan Africa have albinism.

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