7 June 2017

Mozambique: 'Traditional Healers' May Be Behind Killings of Bald People

Photo: [paumelia]/Flickr
(File photo).

Maputo — The Mozambican police on Tuesday raised the possibility that "traditional healers" (the polite term which often includes sorcerers and witch-doctors) may be involved in the recent murder of bald people, in the central province of Zambezia, apparently to extract their body parts.

Speaking at his weekly press briefing in Maputo, the spokesperson for the General Command of the police, Inacio Dina, said police work undertaken so far pointed the finger of suspicion at the “traditional healers”.

“Bald people may be pursued because they are thought to have some kind of power, and that if this power can be transferred to other people, it will enrich them. It's a very wrong way of thinking”, added Dina.

To establish the true causes of these grisly killings, he said, the police are undertaking “profound social investigation” in the local communities.

There have been three cases registered of the murder of bald people in Zambezia. In one case the victim was found with his head cut off, and other body parts removed. The Zambezia police have made two arrests.

The police commander in the Zambezia district of Morrumbala, Afonso Dias, cited by Radio Mozambique, noted that local sources claim “a man with no hair on his head has gold, which technically and scientifically we cannot accept”.

Another police spokesperson in the province, Miguel Caetano, said the two suspects had made confessions alleging that the body parts taken from the victims were to have been used in rituals by witchdoctors in Tanzania and Malawi who had told clients this would make them rich.

Over the past couple of year there has been a spate of murders of albino citizens, apparently because superstitious beliefs in the supposedly magical quality of albino body parts have filtered into Mozambique from neighbouring Tanzania.

But this is the first time the transfer of this gruesome practice to bald people has been recorded.

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