11 January 2018

Zambia: Pregnant Albino Loses Arm in Suspected Ritual Attack

A 20-YEAR-OLD pregnant albino woman of Muchinga Province has survived a horrific attack in which unknown assailants cut off her right arm and made off with it for suspected rituals.

Miriam Kumwenda of Chikwa village in Chama, who is three months pregnant, was attacked by a gang that dragged her out of her home at night, cut off her right arm and left her for dead.

She survived the attack and was picked up by members of the public the next morning and taken to Chama hospital where she spent a month being treated for her injuries.

Ms Kumwenda's brutal attack has been strongly condemned by the foundation of persons living with albinism executive director John Chiti.

Provincial Police Commissioner Chola Katanga could not be reached by Press time but Mr Chiti confirmed the incident yesterday, saying that the attackers could have used charms to confuse Ms Kumwenda as they took her to a nearby bush without the knowledge of any of her family members and she failed to call for help.

Mr Chiti said in an interview the foundation had spoken with Ms Kumwenda, she said she had heard one of the attackers directing his colleagues to start by cutting off her left hand with an unknown object, but as soon as he started cutting, he was again stopped by one of them.

"From the interview we had with her, the attackers, after engaging into a heated debate among themselves, one of them told his friend to just cut off her right arm and leave the left one," he said.

He said the attackers left Ms Kumwenda unconscious in the bush and she was only discovered in the morning and was rushed to Chama South District Hospital where she was admitted for one month.

Mr Chiti said when the organisation heard about the attack of Ms Kumwenda, he and other members decided to visit her at her village, located about three hours from the central business district.

He said the woman later agreed to be transferred to the organisation's home in Lusaka where she was recovering well, but he feared that if she went back to the village, she could be attacked again.

Mr Chiti hailed the police for making efforts leading to the arrest of the three attackers and was confident that justice would prevail.

He appealed to well-wishers to come on board and provide assistance to Ms Kumwenda, especially that she was an expectant mother, and required support.

Patriotic Front (PF) Chama South Member of Parliament (MP) Davison Mung'andu said he was saddened by the attack on Ms Kumwenda and urged police to ensure the perpetrators faced the law.

Mr Mung'andu said cases of albino killings were on the increase and the perpetrators were selling some body parts to a named neighbouring country for ritual purposes.

In Lundazi District recently, a 37-year-old Albino woman of Chief Magodi was brutally murdered by four suspected ritual killers who cut off her right hand and plucked out her teeth.

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