While billions of people around the world were celebrating New Year’s Eve and having a countdown into 2019, a group of young men were committing a gruesome murder. They traced and brutally killed a 54-year-old albino man, identified as Yasin Phiri in front of his nine-year-old son at their home in Kande Trading Centre in Nkhata Bay.
This is not the first time such murders have occurred in Malawi and it is a result of the popular mythical belief and practices in many parts of Africa. Body parts of albinos are usually sold to traditional doctors and used for rituals and charms.
In Malawi, albinos are targeted because of diabolical beliefs that their body parts "can increase wealth, make businesses prosper or facilitate employment."
The United Nations in a statement through its Resident Coordinator in Malawi, Benoit Thiry, has condemned in strong terms the activities of these ritualists and the murder of Yasin Phiri which has continued to raise public outrage.
Earlier reports had claimed that the estimated 10,000 albinos currently living in Malawi are at the risk of extinction due to the tragic killings for ritual purposes.
In the statement by the United Nations as reported by All Africa, the organization said:
"The plan addresses the root causes of attacks on persons with albinism, including a nationwide awareness-raising campaign, strengthened investigations, and prosecutions, together with strengthened protection and victim assistance measures.
"If these measures are not accelerated, we will continue registering human rights violations against persons with albinism. We urge the authorities to ensure a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of Yasin Phiri, and bring the alleged perpetrators to justice.
"We further call upon the authorities to fast-track the investigation and prosecution of outstanding cases on violation of rights of persons with albinism to avoid cultivating a culture of impunity in Malawi."
However, the Malawi Police Services said they have arrested four suspects linked to the murder of Yasin Phiri.
We can only pray and hope that the culprits are brought to face justice.
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