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Albino murders turn to Dowa

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As the country debates on a new resolve to clamp down on murderers of people with albinism, police at Mponela, Dowa have arrested 10 people on allegations that they murdered a 21-year-old girl with albinism.

The deceased has been identified as Enelesi Nkhata from Kumtumba Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kaphuka in Dedza.

According to Mponela Police Public Relations Officer, Kondwani Kandiado, first accused person, Gerald Phiri, 38, from the same village, agreed with his friend Medison Madzialenga, 37, from Chimeza Village, T/A Chakhaza in the district to engage in selling bones of persons with albinism upon hearing rumours that they fetch a lot of money.

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“The discussion prompted Phiri on April 8 this year to go to his home village in Dedza to collect and bring to Dowa his niece Enelesi who was living with her grandmother since her parents divorced some years back,” Kandiado said.

The PRO said Phiri convinced the grandmother and other relatives, telling them he wanted to look for job as well as sunscreen lotion, commonly used by people with albinism, for the girl.

“After leaving Dedza, they proceeded to Madisi in Dowa. The girl stayed in Madisi for over a week and some days with her uncle but Madisi residents later became suspicious as the girl’s whereabouts could not be established. They reported the matter to Madisi Police Unit and, as police, we launched an investigation the same night which led to the arrest of Phiri,” Kandiado said.

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He confessed during interrogations to have killed her niece with the assistance of accomplices from Lilongwe, all Area 25 residents except businessperson Damison Manyoni, 55, who lives in Area 49 – Dubai, according to police.

The publicist said Phiri and the accomplices on the girl with albinism’s fateful night dragged the albino to Mpale Estate in the district, killed her, removed eight bones from her body, packed the body in a sack and buried it on the scene.

A visit by police officers to the scene found the body in a decomposed state with some parts mutilated and a post-mortem at Madisi Mission Hospital revealed that death was due to severe loss of blood.

“The bones were taken to Lilongwe where Damiano Phiri, 32, Isaac Sambule, 47, and Yosofi Samuel, 28, had secured a market with certain businessmen connected to Damison Manyoni but the business did not materialise,” Kandiado said.

Other suspects include Jazimon Baluwa, 35, Foster Weruzani, 35, Steven Chingómbe, 33, Ronald, 38, and Damison Manyoni, 55.

The sharp rise in the brutal murders in Malawi has shocked the nation, prompting President Peter Mutharika to recently declare war against thugs who abduct people with albinism and tamper with graves of people with albinism.

According to Association of People Living with Albinism in Malawi (Apam), there are slightly over 10,000 people with albinism in Malawi.

Apam believes a rise in cases of people with albinism murders in Malawi can be, among others, attributed to lenient laws in the country.

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