Mozambique To Tackle Religious Killings Of Albinos And Bald Men



Club Of Mozambique


“Mozambican and Tanzanian police signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday in Dar-Es-Salsam that provides for mutual assistance in combating cross-border crime and terrorism, as well as their various forms of financing.

Under the terms of the memorandum, the two police forces foresee combined response to incursions by terrorist groups. The Police  (PRM) and other Defence and Security Forces of the Republic of Mozambique will be assisted by the Tanzanian Police Force through exchange of information, simultaneous joint operations, technical assistance and institutional development, with a view to addressing pockets of insecurity.

According to the terms of the agreement, the parties will cooperate in the fight against crimes related to natural resources, drugs, psychotropic substances and chemicals [used in the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances] economic and financial crimes and corruption.

The Mozambican and Tanzanian police also agreed to work together to combat fraud; counterfeiting and forgery of currency, goods and products; theft; and the smuggling of means of transport.

Combating the theft and smuggling of weapons, ammunition and explosives, theft of radioactive, nuclear, bacterial, biological or chemical materials, as well as theft using firearms are also included in the memorandum as the focus of joint action.

According to the document, the PRM and its counterpart in Tanzania undertake to do everything possible to combat trafficking in human beings, illegal migration, theft and smuggling of materials of historical, cultural and artistic value, cyber crime, smuggling or trade of illicit assets and the theft of hospital and cattle medicines.

Commander-in-Chief of the Police of the Republic of Mozambique, Bernardino Rafael, said that, as well as fighting terrorism, Mozambique would utilise cooperation with Tanzania to gain experience in stopping the trafficking of people with albinism and baldness, phenomena that have been occurring in Mozambique lately.”

Nampula, Mozambique—October 5, 2016. Ricardo C., Nampula, 23 years old, is a primary school teacher and father. He says that albinos are being hunted like animals and feels bad about being discriminated against for being an albino. He is proud to be an albino but lives in fear because of the current situation. In addition, Elidia C., Ricardo's sister, was a victim of kidnapping and murder. She was raped, kidnapped and killed by three kidnappers. Ricardo and Mauricio, her brothers, think that Elidia's husband planned the attack. At the time of the abduction, he was not at home. Afterwards, his family bought a new car. © Daniel Rodrigues, Finalist, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017.

Lens Culture

Nkhotakota, Malawi—July 13, 2016. Peter C. is one of the victims of discrimination in Malawi. Three years ago, he was diagnosed with a tumor, but he wasn't treated by the hospital in Nkhotakota because he is albino. He is poor and therefore cannot go to the Lilongwe hospital, where he could be treated. The tumor is getting worse, and his skin itself is beginning to rot due to the fact that there has been no treatment or help. Unfortunately cases of discrimination in Malawi and Mozambique are widespread. Some albinos ask for help by organizing events and trying to show society that they are human beings. © Daniel Rodrigues, Finalist, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017.

““Albinos don’t die—they only disappear.”

Lilongwe, Malawi—October 5, 2016. Licila M., 13 years old, lives in the outskirts of Lilongwe. She and her sister Teresa had to change their habits after last June when they were followed by a man who called one of them "money." Angry, they replied, "She is human." Neither them walk alone anymore, and their mother goes every day with the sister to school because she's afraid she will be abducted. Play? Only in front of the house! And her parents are always present. They hope that she can have a normal life like other children. They hope she will not have to live in constant fear. © Daniel Rodrigues, Finalist, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017.

This phrase has never made as much sense as it does now. Some say it is the fault of local healers or the organ trafficking mafia. But the truth is that the lack of information is the main culprit of the crimes. People believe in the prophecy that says that if you have a piece of an albino (usually their hands, feet or head), you’ll have luck or money in life.

Since the end of 2014, the albinos of Mozambique and Malawi have suffered kidnappings, murders, vandalized graves and a lot of discrimination. It all started in the country that borders the two countries: Tanzania. There it is known that people with albinism have suffered greatly. Soon after, cases started in Mozambique and Malawi. The Tanzanian government has conducted outreach operations that helped reduce the problems, but on the other hand, they increased the persecution of albinos in neighboring countries.

In one of the local languages, albinos are outright called “money,” or “bolada.” In Mozambique, dozens of cases have been reported in the last two years, and the problems have progressed all over the country. In Malawi, there have already been more than 100 cases reported since January 2015. The country has about 4,000 albinos. Mozambique has one albino for every 16,000 inhabitants and has reported about 50 cases.

Tete, Mozambique, October 5, 2016. Eva R., 4 years old, is a child living in the Tete district. Eva, Marco, (her brother) and two children of the neighborhood are leaving to go to school because of the problems that have happened to albinos in this region. Their parents have pride in them but live in constant fear. The government has just begun to take measures to protect them. They hope to have a quiet life so that the children can grow up to lead normal lives. © Daniel Rodrigues, Finalist, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017.

Official data provided by the government indicates that since 2015, some 47 albinos have been the targets of attacks in Mozambique. Governments in these countries have undertaken public service campaigns to inform the public that albino body parts have no special or medicinal properties. And law enforcement has tried to be extra sensitive towards the issue. Even so, the road to change is a long one.”

Lilongwe, Malawi—July 9, 2016. Yohane K., 24 years old, lives in the area 22 in Lilongwe. On July 27, 2015, a stranger approached him in the street offering employment in a grocery store and he accepted. He didn’t know that it was going to be the worst day of his life. After a lunch that seemed harmless, Yohane entered the man's car, which headed towards the border with Zambia. After crossing the border, the man took him to a house with many dead albinos inside. Startled, not knowing where he was, thinking that his life was almost over, another man appeared and gave him money to escape. Today he is still afraid and he doesn't leave his own neighborhood. Many albinos are lured with job offers because there is a lot of discrimination and many of them cannot get jobs where they live and are thus tempted by the chance of a fresh opportunity. © Daniel Rodrigues, Finalist, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017.

Machinga, Malawi, July 8, 2016. Harrison M., 9 years old, continues to ask for his twin brother who was kidnapped one night in February 2015 when the two were at home sleeping in the village of Mpalcati in Machinga district. Two men entered the house and attacked his mother with a knife. She was only able to protect one of her children. Edna, who now lives in fear, doesn't let Harrison go out or go to school because she thinks that the kidnappers are still in the area. Many cases happen at night, where the kidnappers enter the albinos' houses while they are sleeping. © Daniel Rodrigues, Finalist, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017.

Lilongwe, Malawi—July 9, 2016. Chiamwemwe A., 4 years old, lives with his parents in Kawondo neighborhood in Lilongwe District. Since April 20, 2016, she hasn't been in school because her parents are living in fear after a girl from the neighborhood tried to sell Chiamwemwe for about two million Kwacha ($2,700). Days after, she told the parents to sell their own daughter because she is worth a lot of money. Fear is everywhere, and they are considering moving to another area of the city because they cannot return to their home village. The child's uncle poisoned and killed his mother (her grandmother) because she was also an albino. Albinos are frequently attacked by relatives. © Daniel Rodrigues, Finalist, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017.

Tete, Mozambique, July 5, 2016. Flavia P., 31 years old. The grave of his late father (Jose) was vandalized on May 13 in Tete. He died of diabetes in July 2015. Vandalizing albinos' graves has been a recurrent practice in Mozambique and Malawi. The graves are vandalized to extract the remains of the albinos—in the case of Jose Manuel, his legs and arms. Flavia does not know who vandalized the grave of his father but believes that healers spread rumors about using the albinos' remains for their black magic. He speaks about his father with pride. He was a person with a very good heart and with many friends. Although he was always discriminated against, he was privileged to already be an adult when trouble with the albinos started happening in Mozambique. © Daniel Rodrigues, Finalist, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017.

The Guardian – 6th June 2017

A priest blesses a bald man
The killings of two bald men in Mozambique have prompted police to warn of the danger of ritual attacks

“Police in Mozambique has warned that bald people could be the targets of ritual attacks, after the brutal killing of two men whose body parts were thought to have been used in witchcraft.

The two bald men, one of whom was found with his head cut off and organs removed, were killed in a part of the country already notorious for the persecution of albinos.

“Last month, the murders of two bald people led to the arrest of two suspects,” said the national police spokesman Inacio Dina.

“Their motivations come from superstition and culture: the local community thinks bald individuals are rich,” he said.

The killings took place in Milange, in the centre of the southern African country, a few miles from the border with Malawi. The local police told AFP that the two victims were aged over 40.

“One of them was found with his head cut off and his organs removed,” said Miguel Caetano, a spokesman for the security forces in the central province of Zambezia.

The suspects arrested are two Mozambicans about 20 years old. According to their statements, the organs were to be used by healers in rituals to promote the fortunes of clients in Tanzania and Malawi, Caetano said. It was the first time that bald people have been victims of such attacks in the region, he added.

Dina likened the attacks to those on albinos, whose body parts are used in witchcraft rituals.

According to the UN, more than a hundred attacks against albinos – who have white skin because of a hereditary condition that causes an absence of pigmentation – have been registered in Mozambique since 2014, mainly in the centre and the north of the country.”


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