Armed men abducted and beheaded a five-year-old albino girl in Mali at the weekend, police said, in what was feared to be a ritual murder for supposedly magic body parts.
Djeneba Diarra, whose family lives in Fana village 125 kilometres (78 miles) north of Bamako, "was sleeping in the courtyard with her mother and her sister" when the men snatched her at around 2:00 am on Sunday, police told AFP on Monday.
The girl's mother at first tried to pursue the kidnappers, who scaled a wall with her child, but then turned back to protect her second daughter, also an albino.
"We searched for the little girl everywhere. We found her body beside a mosque, but she had no head," said a village teacher, Oumar Diakite.
Blaming a lack of security for the killing, angry local residents on Sunday partially burned down the paramilitary police headquarters in Fana, according to several witnesses.
"We demand justice. Her head was taken. This is a ritual crime," activist Mamadou Sissoko told AFP after going to the scene.
Sissoko, the general secretary of the Federation of Associations of Persons with Albinism in West Africa (FAPAO), pointed out the link between crimes against albinos and political events, ahead of Mali's presidential election on July 29.
"Every time there are elections, we become prey for people who want to make ritual sacrifices. This is not the first time this has happened in Fana," he said. "The state needs to take up its responsibilities."
Read Full Article: Outcry in Mali after albino child beheaded in 'ritual' murder