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Assailants hack boy with albinism

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A 17-year-old boy with albinism is battling for his life at Holy Family Mission Hospital in Phalombe after being severely hacked by unknown assailants. Motive of the attack has not yet been established but of late, people with albinism have come under brutal attack due to occult beliefs.

Phalombe Police Spokesperson, Augustus Nkhwazi, has confirmed the development, saying the police are investigating the matter to arrest the suspected thugs for the offence of unlawful wounding.

According to Nkhwazi, the victim (name withheld) from Phalombe District was attacked on the night of Sunday November, 29, while sleeping alone in a hut.

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“On this particular night at around 23:00 hours, unknown thugs armed with panga knives broke into the house where the boy was sleeping. The suspected thugs started hacking him, but escaped after noting that well wishers were coming to rescue the boy who shouted for help.

“The boy was found in a pool of blood after sustaining deep stab wounds in the head, both arms and on the upper part of the left leg. He was then rushed to Phalombe Health Centre before being referred to Holy Family Mission Hospital where he has been admitted for further treatment,” said Nkhwazi.

Vice Chairperson of Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi, Emmie Chiumia, said it is shocking that despite all the efforts in lobbying for their rights, some people continue to abuse people living with albinism.

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“It is so disappointing that people still believe in killing and abduction of us [people with albinism]. We have done a lot of advocacy to ensure that people’s mindset is changed because we are also human beings like anyone else,” said Chiumia.

Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati, described the incident as sad and disheartening.

“It is so sad and we are asking the police to investigate and make sure that the suspects face the law. We thank the community for rescuing the boy and making sure he is taken to hospital for treatment. We are looking forward that cases of albinism are taken to one magistrate so that these perpetrators face stiffer punishments,” disclosed Kaliati.

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