Zambian organization trying to protect albinos amid attacks

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AFP/File / Yasuyoshi Chiba Albinos, who have white skin and yellow hair as a result of a genetic disorder, are regularly killed in several African countries including Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania
AFP/File / Yasuyoshi Chiba Albinos, who have white skin and yellow hair as a result of a genetic disorder, are regularly killed in several African countries including Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania

The report of a two-year-old albino girl whose hand was chopped off in northern Zambia’s Mbala district this year just goes to show how inhuman the attacks of albinos have become in the country.

The girl had her left hand chopped off by three men who visited her family in June this year, leaving her to nurse serious wounds.

The attack, as well as others, has left a chill of fear among the albinism community in the country who believe that more needs to be done to protect them.

People with albinism in Zambia are indeed living in fear following an escalation of attacks for their body parts, which some people believe could make one rich, powerful or cure certain diseases.

The situation is becoming worse, forcing some albinos, especially those living in rural areas, to flee from their homes and seek sanctuary at safe homes.
The stiffening of punishments for people attacking albinos in neighboring Tanzania and Malawi, where the vice was worse, has resulted in Zambia being a fertile ground for the perpetrators.

“The situation of people living with albinism in Zambia is worrying. A lot of them are living in fear. This is because they are being hunted and killed for their body parts,” John Chiti, president of the Albinism Foundation of Zambia said.

Chiti said the organization has also received reports of children with albinism in rural areas stopping going to school because their parents fear they can be attacked or abducted on their way to school.

Chiti said the organization’s investigations show an average of between 15 and 20 attacks every year.

On the other hand, a report by the Zambia Red Cross Society has put the figure at an average of 10 attacks per year.

According to Chiti, the figure could be higher because some cases especially in rural areas are not being reported while other cases do not find their way in the media.

Chiti believed that the stakeholders should not wait until the case reaches disproportionate levels.

Last year, the organization signed a memorandum of understanding with the police to collaborate in fighting the vice while talks have been ongoing with the Judiciary with the aim of fast-tracking cases involving attacks on albinism.

The organization has also established a safe home where victims and those fearing being attacked are being kept. Enditem

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