A Court in Malawi on Monday sentenced a man who kidnapped a four-year-old albino boy in absentia to 21 years in prison.
The court in Southern City of Zomba handed sentenced Jafali Ligomba, even though he is still at large and the child is yet to be found, in the hopes that the punishment would be a deterrent to others.
It was the first court case of the year involving crimes against albinos, who faced kidnap and murder for their body parts, which are believed by many to hold magical powers and are used in “witchcraft.’’
According to a police statement, the kidnapping occurred in November in the Mangochi district, with the boy abducted when his mother was away attending a funeral.
Reacting, Overstone Kondowe, president of the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi, welcomed the harsh sentence but added that it would need to be reviewed once the status of the missing boy is established.
“It is a fair sentence. Being a first case this year, we hope it will be a yardstick for further cases,’’ Kondowe added.
Since 2014, Malawi has registered 25 albino murders, as well as numerous cases that involved the selling of body parts and grave-robbing.