Vigilantes kill six suspected 'vampires' in Malawi

2017-10-03 18:01


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Blantyre - Vigilantes in Malawi have killed six people suspected of trying to obtain and drink human blood as part of magic rituals since mid-September, police told AFP on Tuesday.

Malawi, where witchcraft is widely believed and education standards are low, is regularly dogged by rumours of "vampire" activity.

The six people were killed in three separate incidents in the area surrounding Mulanje Mountain in the country's south.

The most recent attack came on Sunday when an angry mob beat two people to death because they "suspected the two (victims) of being blood suckers", said police spokesperson James Kadadzera.

The victims were travelling to pray close to the mountain when they were intercepted by a violent crowd on their way through a village.

In another incident, Kadadzera said a local chief was killed by a group accusing him of colluding with men suspected of consuming human blood.

"There is no evidence about the blood suckers... we blame communities for taking the law into their hands," he said, adding that local people targeted the victims because they were believed to be seeking blood for spiritual rituals.

"There is no evidence of blood sucking and nobody has come to police to complain."

Police have deployed more than 100 riot officers to the region in response to the killings.

The United States embassy in Malawi has temporarily withdrawn its team of Peace Corps volunteers from the four districts bordering Mulanje and advised its citizens not to visit the area.

In a statement, the embassy blamed "ongoing acts of vigilante justice stemming from rumours of persons attempting to siphon blood from local residents for ritualistic use."

In the 1970s, the government of former dictator Hastings Kamuzu Banda was accused of killing a dozen residents in a suburb of southern city Blantyre in order to send their blood to apartheid-era South Africa.

Although the culprit was eventually caught and jailed for life, the murders still haunt Malawi.

The issue of vampires remains a sensitive one for officials in Malawi.

In 2003, police arrested a radio journalist for interviewing a man who claimed his village was visited by blood-sucking vampires. He was later released.

The government has previously been forced to deny that it collaborates with international aid organisations to take blood from impoverished villagers in exchange for food supplies.

Read more on:    malawi  |  southern africa

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.