The evil and barbaric cultural practice of killing albinos in Malawi and some part of of the world still continues despite government intervention with an unlikely suspected perpetrator: a Roman Catholic priest Reverend Father Thomas Muhosha caught in the gruesome act.
In 2018, the priest was arrested over the abduction and killing of MacDonald Masambuka, a 22-year-old man with albinism.
Masambuka went missing on March 9, 2018, at Duwamakawa village. He was later found dead by police on April 1 and was buried on April 2, 2018. Some of his body parts were missing.
Other suspects arrested in connection with Masambuka’s murder include a police officer and clinician. The police officer allegedly said that Muhosha was behind the trade of albino body parts.
According to local reports, 21 people with albinism have been killed in the country and 121 cases of the attacks have been recorded countrywide in the last four years. Nine cases of abduction of people with albinism have been reported this year alone.
“Persons with albinism have become targets of criminal gangs operating in Malawi who hunt them like animals for their body parts. The attacks are driven by myths that the body parts are used as lucky charms.
However, there is no proof that the bones bring luck and there is no known market for the body parts,” local news Malawi24 notes.
Zomba Diocese Bishop, George Desmond Tambala, says the Catholic Church in Malawi strongly condemns the killings.
“In recent times, as a Diocese, we have spoken out against the abduction and killing of persons with albinism. It is with much sadness that we have learned of these allegations against a priest of our diocese,” said the Bishop.
National Police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, confirmed that Muhosha was arrested in connection with the murder of Masambuka.
“The most important thing is that he is in police custody and being interviewed in connection with the death of Masambuka,” he said.
Kadadzera said the priest has been on the run since investigations on the matter started.
“The Catholic Church defends the sanctity of life at any point of a person’s life and the killing of albinos is a direct violation of the sanctity of life.
The Diocese of Zomba wishes to express its full cooperation with the arms of the law to see that truth and justice for the victims is established in this case,” the statement reads in part.
The diocese pledges to assist police investigations when required.
“We want to take this opportunity to convey our deepest solidarity with all Catholic faithful and citizens of Malawi who are wounded in their faith due to this sad incident,” it reads.
Since 2014, over 20 persons with albinism have been killed, over nine cases of abductions have been reported in the past four months while three people have been reported missing.
Albinism groups say more than 90% of people with the condition in Africa die before they reach 40-years-old.
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