Locals Blame Security Operatives For Killing Of Albinos
A five year old albino girl was during the weekend, kidnapped and beheaded by armed men in Mali, policemen have confirmed in what was feared to be a ritual murder.
Djeneba Diarra, whose family lives in Fana village 125 kilometres (78 miles) north of Bamako, “was sleeping in the courtyard with her mother and her sister” when the men snatched her at around 2:00 am on Sunday, police men said.
The girl’s mother at first tried to pursue the kidnappers, who scaled a wall with her child, but then turned back to protect her second daughter, also an albino.
“We searched for the little girl everywhere. We found her body beside a mosque, but she had no head,” said a village teacher, Oumar Diakite.
The angry local residents blamed the security system for the killings and partially burned down the paramilitary police headquarters in Fana.
“We demand justice. Her head was taken. This is a ritual crime,” activist Mamadou Sissoko told AFP after going to the scene.
Sissoko, the general secretary of the Federation of Associations of Persons with Albinism in West Africa (FAPAO), pointed out the link between crimes against albinos and political events, ahead of Mali’s presidential election on July 29.
“Every time there are elections, we become prey for people who want to make ritual sacrifices. This is not the first time this has happened in Fana,” he said. “The state needs to take up its responsibilities.”
Dozens of albinos are attacked and killed every year by people prepared to hack off their limbs to use in rituals aimed at bringing wealth, success and good fortune.
Albinism is a genetic hereditary disorder that causes a partial or total absence of pigmentation in the skin, the hair and the eyes, so that sufferers have a bleached look.
Apart from discrimination, albinos are also exposed to problems of eyesight and a heightened risk of skin cancer.
In Africa, protective suntan creams are hard to find and expensive.