UNKNOWN people have attacked a 73-year-old albino woman of Mpika District, cut off her fingers and pulled out one of her teeth in a suspected ritual assault. Muchinga Province Commissioner of Police Joel Njase said in an interview yesterday that Sara Nsomfya of Kabulamwikoko village was attacked on Thursday. She is receiving medical attention.
“Police officers are investigating a case in which an albino woman had her fingers cut off and a tooth removed by unknown people,” Mr Njase said. He said police will thoroughly investigate the matter so that the culprits are arrested and prosecuted.
Mr Njase warned that people who seek to gain wealth using evil means will be exposed and arrested. He also advised people in rural areas to be alert and ensure that they strengthen their community crime prevention units in an effort to curb criminal activities.
Albinism Foundation of Zambia executive director John Chiti said it is unfortunate that albinos are no longer safe to live in communities due to beliefs that their body parts can be used for wealth creation. Mr Chiti said such a belief is retrogressive because selfish and ignorant people will continue attacking and killing albinos just because of the perception. “It is saddening to hear of such attacks.
It shows how much danger people living with albinism are in,” he said. Mr Chiti said the foundation will continue working with the Zambia Police Service so that people behind the attacks and killings can be arrested and prosecuted.
He urged people with albinism to always be cautious within their communities or whenever they travel because there could be people planning to attack or kill them. Mr Chiti also appealed to various stakeholders to help raise awareness about albinos to curb beliefs about albinos.
In May 2015, a 37-year-old female albino was brutally murdered in Lundazi. In December the same year, a 36-year-old man of Lusaka’s Mandevu was killed and had his arm chopped off. The Human Rights Commission condemned the killing of albinos, describing the acts as barbaric. In January this year, masked criminals murdered an albino doctor in Kapiri Mposhi.
The albinos got together and demanded an end to the killings of their counterparts. Some ritualists believe that certain body parts of albinos have mystical powers. It is estimated that Zambia records about 10 murder cases of people living with albinism annually.