The Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) has appealed for support from well-wishers for a key witness in the Macdonald Masambuka murder case who fled her village in Machinga following threats on her life.
The woman, 32, who was late Masambuka’s close friend, is reported to have found a note outside her house with names of seven suspects in the abduction and killing of Masambuka.
Apam president Overstone Kondowe said in an interview on Monday the organisation is financially supporting the woman after she expressed fear for her life in the village.
He said: “We received funding from the European Union to enable us support the woman for six months. We rented a house for her in Lilongwe and secured a school for two of her children she is living with.
“We have been taking care of her for three months now and we only have funds to support her for the next three months. This is why we are appealing to well-wishers to assist in providing for her until the dust settles.”
Kondowe also urged government to fulfil its obligation of protecting lives of all citizens, including those with albinism.
“Rights of persons with albinism are being violated in this country and authorities are slow to act,” he said.
Kondowe said the association is providing the woman, who moved to Lilongwe with two of her four children, a K25 000 upkeep allowance, shelter and other necessities. He said those wishing to assist should contact Apam.
He expressed disappointment that police have not yet arrested those suspected to have threatened the woman, saying they wish the mother of four would reunite with her family and be productive.
But in a separate interview, Machinga Police Station spokesperson Davie Sulumba said police have not yet found evidence to implicate the suspects.
He said: “We were tipped that some people went to warn her that she was being followed but until now we have not found evidence to that effect. We are still investigating the matter and we urge people to come forward with evidence.”
Machinga has reported several cases of killings of persons with albinism since 2014. However, Sulumba said the abductions and killings have stopped since the arrest of suspects in the Masambuka murder.
“Some of those arrested have confessed to having been responsible for previous attacks of persons with albinism in the district. The situation is currently normal. However, we are on alert in case there are still some ill-minded people remaining,” he assured.
The body of 22-year-old Masambuka, who went missing on March 9 this year, was found buried in a garden in the district on April 1. He was from Nakawa Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Nkoola in Machinga.
About 21 people, including a Catholic priest Father Thomas Muhosha, a clinical officer and a police officer were arrested for allegedly being involved in the killing.
The case is now at the High Court in Zomba which on August 23 discharged 10 suspects in the case for lack of evidence. Twelve other suspects are still on trial.
They are answering seven charges, including murder, transacting in human tissues and abduction.
Kondowe described as a milestone the hearing of the Masambuka case at the High Court. He called for all the remaining 21 murder cases of persons with albinism registered since 2014 to also be referred to the court.