A court in Malawi has banned witchdoctors in the country following a surge in the killing of albinos who are hunted down and murdered for their “magical” body parts.
Those affected with the ban also are alternative healers, charm producers, magic users and fortune tellers.
A senior judge in the northern city of Mzuzu granted the order after three customers took legal action against their healers over their failed spells, which had used albino ‘charms’.
In his order Judge Digiswayo Madise, also banned adverts for alternative healers, whose concoctions are sought for a wide variety of problems, from erectile dysfunction to finding a job.
One of the dissatisfied clients had been promised that an ex-lover would take her back. Another claimed he had been guaranteed that a robber would return her stolen goods, a court in Malawi was told.
Oswald Phiri, one of those who sued his healer said in a statement to the court that he believed, ‘all the killings of albinos are stemming from witchdoctors.’
The trade in albino body parts is driven by a belief that their bones are filled with gold and close relatives are often involved with the targeting of victims, driven by a mixture of embarrassment and greed.
Amnesty International believes that the actual number of people with albinism killed is likely to be much higher due to the fact that many secretive rituals in rural areas are never reported. There is also no systematic documentation of crimes against people with albinism in Malawi.
‘The unprecedented wave of brutal attacks against people with albinism has created a climate of terror for this vulnerable group and their families who are living in a state of constant fear for their lives,’ said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.
Malawi has around 10,000 Albinos, most of whom live in fear and under self-imposed curfews.