A gang of criminals nicknamed "albino hunters" and armed with machetes, knives and axes are striking fear into people living with albinism in Malawi, abducting and often killing their victims in broad daylight and in the dead of night, prompting police to announce a shoot-to-kill policy. The latest victim of the brutal attacks is a nine-year old boy with albinism from Malawi's eastern district of Machinga. His mother Edna Cedrick tried to rescue her son Brian when two attackers abducted him early in March 2016.
A police officer from Machinga district, Isaac Ndala, confirmed the abduction, adding that the kidnappers injured the boy's mother. The abduction happened while her husband was away on a fishing errand at the nearby Lake Chilwa. According to South Malawi News, the mutilated body of the boy has been found. His head and other parts of his body were cut off (pictured below). Police have arrested a 22-year-old man for taking part in the gruesome murder.
The audacious kidnapping is not an isolated case, as abductions, attempted killings and brutal murders have prompted some police authorities to brand albinos an "endangered species" in Malawi. According to the police, by now, about 50 criminal offences have been committed against albinos and the number might even be higher than as some incidents may not have been reported to police.
"The latest statistics we have are of last year, 2015," Malawi police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa told News24. "Over 30 criminal cases were reported that included killings, abductions, and being found with bones of persons with albinism. 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," he said.
Sources: News 25 and South Malawi News