The United Nations has condemned the recent attack on Tafwauli N’goma, a 92-year-old woman with albinism in Mzimba, during which two of her toes were amputated.
A statement issued on Monday signed by UN resident coordinator Maria Jose Torres commends the Malawi Police Service for its swift investigation into the case that led to the arrest of three suspects.
Reads the statement in part: “In the lead-up to the elections in Malawi last year, we saw a spike in the number of attacks and killings against Malawians with albinism—attacks that stem from root causes such as the negative mystification of albinism, stigma, poverty and harmful practices.
“As political contestations heighten after the Constitutional Court decision, this attack raises concerns for the safety of persons with albinism. The UN calls on the government to ensure adequate financial resources to fully implement the National Action Plan on Persons with Albinism.”
According to the statement, UN Resolution A/RES/72/140 on Persons with Albinism, adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly on December 19 2017, refers to the need to address the root causes of discrimination and violence against persons with albinism through ongoing awareness-raising and social behaviour change campaigns.
“In addition, an effective justice system is required to hold perpetrators of these crimes accountable. The United Nations country team in Malawi stands ready to provide any technical advice necessary to achieve these goals,” reads the statement further.
Police arrested a native doctor and two villagers last week in connection with the chopping off of toes of the woman with albinism last Saturday.
The woman was attacked right in her compound at Kapopo Village, Traditional Authority M’mbelwa in the district by a stranger who went to her house pretending to seek a matchstick with which to light a cigarette, only to produce an axe and chop off Ng’oma’s toes.
Northern Region Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya confirmed the arrest of three suspects, namely Fumu Nyirenda, 42, Eliah Mwandira, 22, and the native doctor Kaphaso Nyirenda, 34.
Kalaya said the police also recovered one of the toes which was being analysed and preserved at Mzimba District Hospital.