27 arrested in Malawi over fatal mob attacks linked to blood sucking rumours

Rustenburg – At least 27 people have been arrested in Malawi after mob attacks in which the victims were accused of sucking the blood of others, local media reported on Monday.

Online publication Malawi24 said the 27 were arrested following an intelligence-driven police operation.

Police spokesman in the country’s Northern region, Superintendent Peter Kalaya, said over the past two weeks mobs had blocked roads, attacked strangers and vandalised the properties of business people, accusing them of either sucking others’ blood – supposedly a form of witchcraft aimed at helping one acquire wealth – or harbouring such people.

“People are reminded that it is wrong to spread false rumours on matters of security as they instil unfounded fears in people,” Malawi24 quoted Kalaya as saying, urging Malawians to report any suspected “bloodsuckers” at their nearest police station.

Three people have been brutally murdered, one in Chitipa and two others in Mzimba districts, since the rumours started swirling.

On Monday the state-owned Malawi News Agency said an irate mob stoned and torched Malomo police station in Ntchisi district after officers rescued a man accused of being a bloodsucker from an attack. The man was badly beaten before the police intervened.

According to the news agency another man, 46-year-old Precious Chikopa, was similarly saved by police after going on a drinking spree and then asking for a place to sleep at a village when it got dark.

The villagers reported turned on him, accusing him of being a bloodsucker, but he managed to escape and handed himself to Malomo police for safety.

 On Friday night a vehicle was set on fire after the three people travelling in it were accused of being bloodsuckers. The trio, who were stopped at an illegal roadblock mounted by community members along the Kasungu–Nkhotakota road, managed to escape.
Source IOL

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