BBC: Albino boy kidnapped from his bedroom (3)

11 July, 2018

Dear Chris and all,

"Neil, regarding the BBC news item on the kidnapping of an albino boy in Mozambique, you and the BBC are assuming (whether correctly of incorrectly who can say?):

1) that the boy was kidnapped because he was an albino"

The circumstantial evidence strongly points to this, but you are right - we cannot be 100% sure at this point. It may be that someone 'dug a hole in the wall of his house... went straight to the bedroom, where his four children were sleeping...' and took him, and only him, way for some other reason, but the news report (if accurate) together with previous confirmed reports of kidnap and murder leads us to have a very high suspicion that this child was taken because he is has albinism.

"2) that he was kidnapped so that someone could harvest his body parts for ritual purposes, and"

You are right that we cannot be certain at this stage why he was kidnapped. However, there are sadly many cases over the past few years of children with albinism being kidnapped and murdered for their body parts.

"3) that he was murdered (that one is only Neil, not the BBC)."

Yes, my comment was: "What is the Mozambique government doing to stop these murders?", and I was referring to the many children with albinism who have been murdered in Mozambique. We do not know yet if this latest child has also been murdered. I fear the worst.

"Plausible, but - in terms of science - each of these is only a hypothesis. Isn't that a lot of supposition for an evidence-based list?"

We need to highlight the growing evidence that children with albinism are being murdered in Mozambique and other countries because of false beliefs that their body parts will bring 'good luck and wealth'. This is an extremely important human rights issue and it is also highly relevant to HIFA as an extreme example of the harm that can be caused through misconceptions and misinformation.

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 18,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on five global forums in three languages. He also currently chairs the Dgroups Foundation (, which supports 800 communities of practice on international development, health and social justice. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: