Malawi 'vampirism' mania spreads as two die in mob violence

Malawi 'vampirism' mania spreads as two die in mob violence”

On Friday, MDF soldiers were spotted patrolling areas such as Limbe, Lunzu, Machinjiri Chilomoni and Chileka in order to restore security in the wake of attacks on people suspected of being bloodsuckers.

"One person was burned and another stoned to death by angry mobs in incidents on Thursday for being suspected to be blood suckers", police spokesman Ramsy Mushani told AFP.

One was set on fire and the other stoned, according to police.

"If people are using witchcraft to suck people's blood, I will deal with them and I ask them to stop doing that with immediate effect", he said.

"Our investigations have shown that all the nine who have been killed were innocent and we want to warn all those taking the law into their own hands that they will be taken to task".

In Malawi, mobs have been forming because of rumors of "vampires" hidden among the populace.

The villagers in these areas believe human blood sucking is a ritual practised by some to become rich.

If these communities believe in "mysterious magical explanations for things, then people will tend to attribute their difficulty on what they call blood suckers", explains Dr Chioza Bandawe, a clinical psychologist at the University of Malawi.

A number of vehicles and properties were destroyed yesterday by irate residents who said were hunting for blood suckers.

Police say there were no medical reports of anyone found to have had their blood sucked.

Lynch mob attacks began in mid-September in which at least six people were killed in southern Malawi after they were accused of behaving like vampires.

Meanwhile, UN agencies have pulled out workers from districts affected by the rumors. Vigilante violence linked to vampire rumours also erupted there in 2002.

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