Africa: Albino hunters beware

Africa: Albino hunters beware

Malawi has ordered police to shoot “dangerous criminals” who attack albinos to sell their body parts for witchcraft. “Shoot every criminal who is violent when caught red-handed abducting people with albinism,” the country’s police chief, Lexen Kachama, told officers.

Six albinos were killed in the poor southern African nation between December 2014 and April 2015, according to the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi.

Kachama told officers in Machinga district in the south of the country, where most of the attacks have happened, that “we cannot just watch while our friends with albinism are being killed like animals every day.” He said he does not want to “hear of a police officer chasing dangerous criminals, especially those abducting albinos carrying tear gas or any other soft weapon.”

“That is why I am ordering the police to use weapons in proportion to the gravity of the offense. We need to be secure from criminals,” he added.

Albinos have been the victim of a surge of attacks across Africa in recent months, with the United Nations warning that the situation was particularly acute in Tanzania, Burundi and Malawi.

The U.N. said the spike in violence against albinos in Tanzania may have been linked to general and presidential elections in October 2015, as political campaigners attempted to win over influential sorcerers.   Agence France-Presse

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