Police on Tuesday arrested a Catholic priest in Malawi in connection with the suspected murder of an albino man, in a case that has already seen a police officer and medical official detained.
“The arrest of the bishop brings the number of the suspects to 12, and depending on our investigations, more suspects might be arrested,” national police spokesman, James Kadadzela, said.
The body of McDonald Masambuka, 22, was found on April 1 in Machinga district in southern Malawi, missing a leg and several bones.
People in some African countries believe the body parts of those with albinism – a disorder that causes lack of skin pigmentation – to have magical powers.
Albinos are often killed for their body parts for use in witchcraft.
The detained priest, Father Thomas Muhosha, has been suspended from his diocese pending the conclusion of the case.
The diocese expressed “profound shock” at the allegations in a statement.
The Head of the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi, Overstone Kondowe, has said the alleged involvement of professionals such as police officers in the case shows that albino murders are not a matter of ignorance, but are driven by monetary greed.
In Malawi, some 20 people with albinism have been killed and abducted since 2014, according to the association.