The mother and stepfather of a missing albino boy were charged with kidnapping and “ intent to murder ” by Malawi police on Wednesday , along with three other relatives .
Twelve- year – old James Kachingwe disappeared five days ago after he failed to return to his home in the south- eastern Phalombe district , following the country’ s independence day celebrations .
Police spokesperson James Kadadzera told AFP that the other suspects arrested include an aunt and two uncles .
“ Since we have not established whether the boy is alive or dead, we have charged them with conspiracy , kidnapping and abducting with intent to murder , ” he said .
Kadadzera said police are working hard “ to end this barbaric act of terrorising people with albinism in Malawi ” .
Malawi , one of the world ’ s poorest and most aid – dependent countries , has experienced a spike in violent attacks on people with albinism over the past four years .
In many cases those with albinism are targeted for their body parts to be used in witchcraft .
The genetic hereditary disorder causes a partial or total absence of pigmentation in the skin , hair and eyes — as a result albinos often experience eye problems and have a heightened risk of skin cancer .
In a June 28 report , rights group Amnesty International said that since November 2014 there have been 148 crimes reported against people with albinism that have claimed at least 21 lives .
Just 30 percent of those attacks have been properly investigated , according to official statistics , with only one murder and one attempted murder case successfully prosecuted.
Of the 600 cases of violence against albinos in 28 African countries , Malawi accounted for nearly a third .
( AFP )
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