Apam delighted with reduction in albino attacks

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    The Association of Persons with Albinism (Apam) says they it is delighted that in the seven months gone by, there hasn’t been reports of actual attacks on persons with albinism.

    Describing the development as positive, Apam president Overstone Kondowe said the last actual attack was registered in Nsanje and Chikwawa in March this year.

    Massa, Chigwenembe and Mwaluka during one of the sensitization meetings

    However, Kondowe said there have been incidences of suspected criminals tampering with grave yards and being found in possession of bones–the latest was reported in July this year.

    Before the March incident, Apam had registered 115 cases since 2014, 22 of which were murder cases.

    Other cases included intimidation, abduction, attempted murder, trafficking in persons and tampering with grave yards.

    The attacks stem from a belief that body parts belonging to people with albinism contain magical powers.

    Nevertheless, Kondowe said there is still a long way to go as 21 murder cases are yet to be concluded by the courts while surviving victims are yet to undergo psychological counseling.

    “This is a positive development but we still have a long way to go. Victims have not gone through psychological counseling and they are still living in fear with some dropping out of school while some are not comfortable enough to walk long distances without being accompanied by guardians. This is why we are continuing with our campaigns,” he said.

    Kondowe further expressed worry that up to now the black market where people claim to have been selling the bones have not been located.

    Apam National coordinator Boniface Massah in his recent address to a gathering during sensitization meetings in Neno and Mwanza, hailed the police, the courts and the public for working hand in hand to calm the situation.

    “It was indeed a big test for the nation but together we have broken through. However, as an association, we cannot completely rule out the fact that some sectors of the society still believe that they can get rich through rituals. I call for continued civic education as the beliefs are associated with poverty and ignorance,” he said.

    Commenting on the matter, commissioner responsible for community policing Willie Mwaluka assured persons with albinism in the country of maximum security so that they enjoy their fundamental rights like any other Malawian.

    He encouraged community policing members to continue working together with the Police.

    “Let us all unite in protecting our brothers and sisters from any kind of abuse and torture,” he said.

    Southern Region Commissioner of police Demister Chigwenembe, said while the nation is celebrating victory over the barbaric killings of people with albinism, his office has not relaxed.

    He said the police are working with chiefs, parents and non-governmental organizations in promoting rights of persons with albinism.

    Chingwenembe further encouraged all persons with albinism to report to authorities any abuse including calling them funny names.

    Malawi has about 10 000 persons with albinism. Prevailing killings of people with albinism pushed Parliament to make amendments in July last year on the laws as a short term response to abductions and killings of persons with albinism.

    Original Article

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