Mozambique warns of ritual attacks against bald people

Maputo - Police in Mozambique on Tuesday warned that bald people could be the targets of ritual attacks, after the brutal killing of two men whose body parts were to be used in witchcraft.

The two bald men, one of whom was found with his head cut off and organs removed, were killed in a part of the country already notorious for the persecution of albinos.

"Last month, the murders of two bald people led to the arrest of two suspects," national police spokesperson Inacio Dina told a news conference in the capital Maputo.

"Their motivations come from superstition and culture: the local community thinks bald individuals are rich," he said.

The killings took place in Milange, in the centre of the southern African country, a few kilometres from the border with Malawi.

The local police told AFP that the two victims were aged over 40.

"One of them was found with his head cut off and his organs removed," said Miguel Caetano, spokesperson for the security forces in the central province of Zambezia.

The suspects arrested are two Mozambicans around 20 years old.

According to their statements, the organs were to be used by healers in rituals to promote the fortunes of clients in Tanzania and Malawi, he said.

It was the first time that bald people have been victims of such attacks in the region, Caetano said.

In Maputo, the national police spokesperson likened the attacks to those on albinos, whose body parts are used in witchcraft rituals.

According to the UN, more than a hundred attacks against albinos - who have white skin because of a hereditary condition that causes an absence of pigmentation - have been registered in Mozambique since 2014, mainly in the centre and the north of the country.

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