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Malawi albino attack survivor: ‘I am too scared to sleep’

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Femia Tchulani survived an attempted kidnapping in Malawi by people wanting to kill her for her body parts.

In Malawi, like other countries in the region, people with albinism are hunted down because of the belief that potions made from their body parts can bring good luck and wealth.

She told the BBC how a gang tried to lure her away from her home two years ago:


It was a Friday. Five men and one woman came here at about 7 o’clock in the evening.

They arrived when I was in the kitchen preparing our supper and my husband was outside here.

They told him that they were looking for me. That they were policemen, and had come to protect me because they had got a tip that some people were looking for me to kill me.

I was scared because these were total strangers. I had never seen them before.

There was such commotion here that some of our neighbours gathered.

And although they said they were policemen, they were not wearing uniform.

I wasn’t convinced at first, but then they mentioned the name of the police chief from this area. We even asked them to describe the police chief, and they did.

In fact, they showed us guns and even identity cards. But of course we could not know whether they were genuine or not.

 

That is when my husband and I, and some of the neighbours agreed to go with them to the police unit. When we got there, the police post was locked.

The five who claimed to be police officers called three other people from a nearby bar. And they now tried to force my husband and me to go to a station further from our area.

It was very strange because they sent away anyone else that was curious and wanted to stop by. So it was just me, my husband, and the neighbours who had come with us.

My husband insisted that they shouldn’t take me away by myself. He kept arguing with them that we hadn’t committed any crime; why were we going to be taken to a police station?

When they realised we had decided to stand our ground, they were very angry, and they just left.

I have never seen them again since that day – we know the policemen that operate in our area. But those people were strangers to all of us.

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