Blantyre (Malawi) (AFP) – A mob in Malawi’s southern district of Nsanje burned seven people to death for allegedly possessing human bones for use in witchcraft, police said Wednesday.
The seven were “found in possession of human bones and the mob took it upon themselves to burn them with petrol,” Kirdy Kaunga, police officer in charge of the district, told AFP.
A traditional chief said local people became suspicious due to the movements and telephone conversations of one of the seven men who was discovered with a bag containing the bones.
“He was chased and arrested,” chief Tengani, who only uses one name, told AFP.
“The man is said to have confirmed that his bag contained human bones and that’s when the mob began rounding up the seven and burned them one by one.”
Police arrived after the incident on Tuesday in Nsanje, which borders Mozambique, and have made no arrests.
Officials said they were investigating whether the bones belonged to albinos, who have white skin and yellow hair as a result of a genetic disorder that causes the absence of pigmentation.
Albinos are killed regularly in some African countries including Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania for their body parts, which are used in witchcraft rituals.