Uganda - Albino Child no. 38 Rescued after Attempted Beheading (September 2015)
The Grand Priory of Uganda in conjunction with Humanity Healing International has rescued and relocated an 18 month old child who was attacked by a machete-wielding assailant, suspected to be an Albino hunter.
Matthias was born with albinism in rural Uganda. When people realized that the mother, Prossy, had birthed an albino, she was despised. The father moved away and because of the abject poverty the mother found herself in, her two older children had to be given to relatives to raise.
But no other person wanted to touch Matthias because of the superstition that albino children cause bad fortune. On some occasions, Prossy would not get employment in the fields because others refused to work with her claiming that the albino child would cause the seeds not to germinate.
While walking back from the fields with Matthias being carried on her back, Prossy was attacked by a man wielding a panga, an African machete, who tried to kill the child. With Prossy dodging to try and protect her child, the man took multiple swings at the child with his machete. On his fourth attempt, the assailant was able to strike Matthias, leaving a large gash on his head above his left eye, which bled profusely.
The noise of the struggle brought others to the scene and the assailant fled. The police gave chase and he was arrested but, despite admitting to attacking, cutting, and attempted beheading of the child with the machete, he was released. Upon complaints by community leaders, he was re-arrested and remanded to Ndorwa Government Prison.
The attack also created additional problems for Prossy, including bills for medical treatment of the child's wound, more difficulty in finding work and increased attention directed towards her albino child. Local superstitions include albino children's hands, blood, hair, skin and other body parts are medicinal, and can create wealth if mixed with magical rituals. These superstitions are promoted by "witch doctors" who still wield influence in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in rural areas.
There is a heinous, but thriving, trade in albino body parts.
Because of the tireless efforts of the Grand Prior of Uganda, the Chevalier Michael Sabiiti, who is also the Country Director for Humanity Healing International and founder of the local NGO SCOSP, word of the Albino Rescue Project had reached this remote section of Uganda, and a good Samaritan alerted Michael.
Over the weekend of 5 September, Chev. Michael Sabiiti traveled to the village Prossy was hiding with Matthias, where he was able to find them and bring them to a place of safety. Matthias has been entered into the Albino Rescue Project, is receiving medical care, and will begin his education in a safe school when he is of age. Prossy will receive seamstress training through the community outreach facet of the local HHI Pads for Schoolgirls program.