International

Mob attacks kill 9 as ‘vampire’ scare spreads in Malawi, 140 arrested

In this August 2014 file photo, Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika talks to reporters during the US-Africa Summit at the Institute of Peace in Washington. Deadly mob attacks on people suspected to be “vampires” have led about 140 arrests in Malawi on October 20, 2017 even as Mr. Mutharika appealed for calm.

In this August 2014 file photo, Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika talks to reporters during the US-Africa Summit at the Institute of Peace in Washington. Deadly mob attacks on people suspected to be “vampires” have led about 140 arrests in Malawi on October 20, 2017 even as Mr. Mutharika appealed for calm.   | Photo Credit: AP

In the latest incident, a man with epilepsy was burned to death on suspicion of being a ‘blood-sucker’

Deadly mob attacks on people suspected to be “vampires” have led to 140 arrests in Malawi, police said on Friday.

The situation had spun out of control, the Inspector General of Police, Lexon Kachama, told The Associated Press. More arrests were expected.

Nine people have been killed in the attacks that began last month after rumors of “blood-suckers” spread. In the latest case, a man with epilepsy was burned to death in Blantyre, the southern African nation’s second-largest city, Mr. Kachama said. Another person there was stoned to death.

President appeals for calm

President Peter Mutharika has appealed for calm in the four districts where the mob attacks have taken place, saying this week that “my government will offer protection from these alleged blood-suckers.”

The United Nations and U.S. Embassy have blacklisted some of the areas as dangerous zones for staffers.

“The biggest challenge is that thieves and robbers have now taken advantage of the situation and are mounting illegal roadblocks at night in order to harass people,” Mr. Kachama said.

Government officials have said the attacks were harming the deeply impoverished country’s image. Residents, including health officials, teachers and traditional leaders, have said their homes were destroyed after rumors spread that they were harboring “vampires.”

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Printable version | May 22, 2020 3:04:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/mob-attacks-kill-9-as-vampire-mania-spreads-in-malawi-140-held/article19894965.ece

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