The security that people living with albinism started to enjoy was shattered last week when 31-year-old Zainab Banda, a mother of three, was brutally murdered in Area 36 Township in Lilongwe.
Nedia Banda, 61, confirmed the death of her daughter, whose body was discovered on Saturday in a bush near Kaphiri, on the peripherals of the city.
According to the grieving woman, her daughter was found in a maize garden where she had been abandoned.
“My daughter went missing on Thursday afternoon [February23] and she was found murdered on Saturday [February 25] in a maize field in Chadza area. She was discovered by children who then reported to Area 36 Police Post,” said Banda.
She added that she came to know about her daughter’s death through police officers who came to her house to break the news.
The deceased, who was popularly known as Mercy, had her head shaved and one limb and one breast cut off. Her remains were buried at a cemetery near where her body had been found at Kaphiri.
Meanwhile, Association of People Living with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) president Boniface Massa expressed shock that attacks on persons with albinism are resurfacing in the country.
Massa’s trip to the bereaved mother in Area 36 yesterday was a follow-up on rumours of the death he had heard of the gruesome murder. The trip, on which The Nation was invited, turned into a condolence mission to the bereaved family.
He noted that Banda’s murder is the latest this year, after the death of another person living with albinism, 19-year-old Madalitso Pensulo, in Phalombe in January.
Massa has since urged government to start implementing new tough laws Parliament enacted after some criminals killed many people living with albinism last year.
The murders were triggered by beliefs that body parts of the people living with albinism are potent in enriching people.
Massa lamented the fact that after a remarkable period of security, people living with albinism in the country will continue living in fear, knowing that they are still being hunted.
He said it is high time the taskforce President Peter Mutharika established for the protection of persons with albinism went into motion as a proactive response plan.
“It’s a very disturbing situation for persons living with albinism and their families to feel hunted in their own country. The fight is still on and we encourage our leaders to be accountable, to save our lives and implement the various recommendations put forward to government, development partners and civil society organisations to end the attacks,” he stated.
According to Massa, it is a shame that the country has not achieved much in ending the brutal attacks against the people living with albinism.