The police have aborted an attempt to sell a two year old albino child.
Seven people, including the parents of the boy, travelled from their home locality of Ancuaze, in Doa district, last Sunday, to the mining town of Moatize, where they intended to sell the boy, named as Julio Elisio, for four million meticais (about 67,500 US dollars, at current exchange rates).
The boy’s father, Elisio Julio, denied that he or his wife, had anything to do with the attempt to traffic their son. He said they were merely travelling through Moatize, on their way to Cahora Bassa lake, where they would look for jobs with a fishing company.
But one of his companions, Antonio Limpo, denied the father’s version, and said he was deeply involved in the trafficking because he wanted to use his share of the money to pay off debts he had contracted in Ancuaze.
Limpo said the deal had been planned a week earlier. “We found middlemen”, he said, “and later we received a communication from one of the middlemen that the client was in Moatize and was willing to pay”.
So the group from Ancuaze then caught a train to Moatize. Unfortunately for the traffickers, one of the group decided to betray the others and informed the police, who sent a unit to Moatize station to arrest the group as soon as they stepped off the train.
The spokesperson for the Tete Provincial Police Command, Lurdes Ferreira, said the police were now looking for the would-be buyers, and anyone else involved in the trafficking of albinos.
This form of trafficking is particularly horrific, because albino children are worth more dead than alive, thanks to the superstition that albino body parts are imbued with magical properties. It is alleged that the use of albino body parts can bring great wealth or power.
The harassment and murder of albinos is a phenomenon that seems to have crossed into Mozambique from Tanzania where it has been a serious problem for many years.