The arrest of a Catholic priest in Machinga on suspicion that he took part in the murder of a 22-year old person with an albinism has shocked Malawians, who reacted on social media, saying this is a sign of the end of the world.
Father Thomas Muhosha of Mulombozi Parish in Zomba was arrested on Monday and is being investigated by the Eastern Region Police after he was mentioned as one of the people who took part in the brutal killing of Masambuka, confirmed national police spokesperson James Kadadzera.
The body of 22 year-old Masambuka, who hailed from Nakawa village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Nkoola in Machinga was found on April 1 buried within the district after he was reported missing in March this year.
Police traced the body following confessions from initial suspects who had been arrested in connection to the crime.
Speaking their minds in various social media platforms, some Malawians say this is the least they expected and came as a shock after the arrest of a police officer and a clinician over tthe abduction and brutal murder of Macdonald Masambuka, a young man with albinism from Machinga.
"My faith has evaporated now, this is the unexpected," wrote one on Facebook.
Another person said the people in white robes are not as innocent as they pretend to be, saying no wonder some of the priests have run secretive marriages and father children out of wedlock when they bless weddings themselves.
However, another lady said say priests are humans and have their weaknesses too therefore they should be forgiven.
Father Thomas Muhonya was arrested on Monday as he was about to cross the borders to go to Mozambique after weeks in hiding and massive police hunt.
Gift Trapence, executive director of Centre for Development of People said the arrest of the priest, the police officer and the medical practitioner is an indication that some influential people are involved in the killings.
"The arrest of these people can reveal the market of the bones, who is involved and where it is involved. This is the chance to get to the bottom of the matter," said Trapence.
Timothy Mtambo, another rights activist asked the police and the courts to speed up the trial of the suspects, saying delays can lead to mob justice on other suspected murderers.
"This is sad. These people are denting the image of the institutions they work for," said Mtambo.
The Association of People with Albinism (Apam) says it is scared with the news adding that albinos are in great danger as they have nowhere to run as churches have always been regarded as a safe refuge.
Said Kondowe: "If police officers and church leaders are being implicated in such cases then who should we trust? The church has always been regarded as a citadel and police are entrusted to provide security to people, this really signifies tough times on the outside."
The Catholic chirch has since suspended the priest over the matter.
Bishop George Tambala of the Zomba diocese in a statement seen by Nyasa Times distanced the church from Muhosha's alleged conduct saying the church defends the sanctity of human life and the killings of persons with albinism is a violation to that sanctity.
Reads the statement in part: "The diocese like the rest of the Catholic Church has always strongly condemned the killings of persons with albinism. It is with sadness, profound shock and shame that we have leant of these allegations against a priest from our diocese."
He further said the diocese is in full cooperation with the arms of law to see to it that truth and justice prevails in the case.