Police in Mozambique have warned bald men that they could be the latest targets of ritual killings in the country following the brutal killing of two bald men whose body parts were to be used in witchcraft.
The two men aged over 40 were killed in Milange, Central Mozambique – an area that is notorious for ritual killings of people with albinism. One of them was found with his head cut off and organs removed, according to the Telegraph.
“Their [killers] motivations come from superstition and culture. The local community thinks bald individuals are rich,” said Mozambique’s national police spokesman Inacio Dina at a news conference in the capital Maputo.
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Dina said two Mozambican suspects, aged around 20 years, have been arrested in connection with the two murders in Milange, just a few kilometers from the border with Malawi where ritual killings are also very common.
Ritual Killings for Riches
In their confessions, the two suspects confirmed that the body organs were to be used by traditional healers in rituals to promote the fortunes of clients in Tanzania and Malawi, according to the police spokesman.
It is the first time that bald people have been targeted for ritual killings in a region where such attacks are widespread. Previously, only albinos and people with epilepsy were killed for witchcraft rituals.
According to the United Nations, over one hundred albinos have been attacked in Mozambique since 2014.
In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa especially in Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique, traditional healers and witchdoctors claim they can use body parts of people with albinism to bring good luck and fortunes.
This has led to an unprecedented rise in albino attacks across the region as killers strive to satisfy the high demand of albino body parts in the flourishing black market.
As a result, many people with albinism are living in miserable fear, with some children being forced to abandon school for fear of being attacked.
In some countries, young vigilantes have armed themselves with machetes and axes, which they use to hunt and kill suspected witchdoctors. In Tanzania, the government has banned witchdoctors and made witchcraft a crime punishable by death.
But even with these measures, the killings are still happening, with some people suspecting that the situation may only get worse.
Albinism is a congenital skin disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes.