Albino people in Malawi are being targeted for their body parts in an increasing number of abductions, killings, and grave robberies, Amnesty International reported Tuesday
At least 69 crimes related to people with albinism have been reported since November 2014, including 18 killings and five abductions, according to the report. The superstitious attacks target albino body parts that some believe contain magical powers and bring good luck.
An estimated 7,000 to 10,000 people in Malawi live with albinism.
The body parts are sold for use by witch doctors and fueled by the myth that having sex with a person with albinism can cure HIV/AIDS, USA Today reported.
The number of deaths could be higher than estimates because many deaths go unreported.
A "full set" of albino body parts, which some believe contain gold, can sell for about $75,000, The Washington Post reported
A separate United Nations report counted 65 cases of violence against albinos, including killings and dismemberments.
The mother of a twin albino boy recounted to The Associated Press
how the boy was snatched from her arms in the middle of the night and then murdered.
"I shouted for help, but when my relatives rushed to our house, they were gone," she said.
After lunging at an approaching AP crew with a knife, a father described giving up his work to protect his 3-year-old albino son.
"My life has come to a standstill," he said, "Anyone who will come to try to snatch my child from me will have to kill me first."
Ikponwosa Ero, a UN human rights and albinism expert, said people with albinism face systematic extinction, al Jazeera reported last month
"What really struck me was how much fear they have," Ero said. "I guess you could imagine it but I saw it on their faces and heard it as they talked. I felt it myself. I felt scared being in the village and I couldn't wait to get back to my vehicle. I sensed the fear. And people should not be living like this. It is completely wrong."
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