“Government is further disturbed that the attack targeted an old person, a woman, and a person with albinism as she was lighting fire in her kitchen for her daughter to prepare a meal upon return from a nearby market,” Mark Botomani, Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology, said in a statement.
Botomani said elsewhere in the region, “violence against people with albinism has been linked to elections. Although there has been no study in Malawi, Government is compelled to conclude that the attack in Mzimba could be part of calculated violence as we may be going towards fresh presidential election ordered by the Constitutional Court on 3rd February, 2020.”
He said Government has directed Malawi Police Service to hunt for and arrest the suspected criminals within the shortest period possible.
“Further, Government would like to request people of Mzimba to help Police in the hunt for the suspected criminals. It is the view of Government that there is a chain of people involved in the criminal act. Our brothers and sisters with albinism are full citizens of Malawi and must never be subjected to suffering during election period or at any other time.”
Botomani said Government was warning all politicians and political party supporters against attacking people with albinism to create a sense of insecurity for political reasons.
He added: “Malawi Police will intensify security of people with albinism, especially now as we may be going towards fresh elections.
“Community members, led by traditional and other opinion leaders, are called to ensure the safety of people with albinism in their areas. Let us work together to make Malawi a safe place for our brothers and sisters with albinism. They are citizens of Malawi and ought to enjoy life like everybody else.”
Albinos, who are very pale due to a hereditary genetic condition that causes an absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes, are facing attacks and killings due to superstitious beliefs, promises of prosperity and negative mystification of albinism.
There have been at least 25 killings of people with albinism since 2014, a spree that has spread terror through the 134,000-strong albino community.
The High Court of Malawi last year convicted and sentenced three -two men and a woman--to death for conniving and gruesomely killing a person with albinism in Mchinji in 2015.
The three were identified as Douglas Mwale, Fontino Folosani and Sophie Jere,who were accused of murdering Priscott Pepuzani in 2015, using a metal bar and a hoe handle, before chopping off his limbs and later burying his body in a garden.
In passing sentence, Judge Esmie Chombo said the court found and proved beyond reasonable doubt that the three murdered the victim.
Chombo said: “The sentence is a warning and a deterrent to would be offenders as murders of people with albinism are becoming rampant.”
Early May last year, the High Court also sentenced another killer Willard Mikaele to death for murdering 19-year-old albino Mphatso Pensulo in 2017.