Maputo — Another albino child has been kidnapped in Moatize, in the western Mozambican province of Tete, bringing the number of albinos kidnapped in Tete since December to five.
The seven year old child was kidnapped at the weekend in the coal mining area of Benga. He was snatched by a gang of six armed men who threatened his mother in the middle of the night. They bundled the child into a car and sped off in the darkness.
Robilio Nhakalize, the uncle of the kidnapped child, told reporters on Monday that he had presented the case to the Moatize police immediately. He wanted the police not only to rescue the kidnap victim, but also to protect the other two albino children in the family.
“We don't know how we're going to live”, said Nhakalize, “because the bandits know they left two other albino children here. We're afraid they could return at any moment. This situation is critical”.
The Tete police say they have been looking for the kidnappers since the first abduction occurred, in Marara district. The second was in Ulongue municipality, capital of Angonia district, in January, The three later cases were all in Moatize.
Mozambican criminals have learnt that they can make money out of albinos by selling their body parts, thanks to the superstitious belief that they possess miraculous powers. This belief, and the foul crimes associated with it, seems to have entered Mozambique from Tanzania, where in recent years dozens of albinos, particularly children, have been murdered in order to harvest their body parts.
The kidnappings have spread a climate of fear among albinos in Tete, who now say they are afraid to go into the streets or visit markets for fear of being kidnapped or murdered.