A well-coordinated operation comprising police officers from Blantyre, Limbe, Kabula, Chileka, Manje, Mbayani and E – Company from Zomba has netted about 140 people for causing mayhem in Chileka, Kachere and Machinjiri areas in Blantyre under the pretext of hunting for blood suckers, Inspector General of the Malawi Police Services, Lexten Kachama told reporters on Friday.
Statistics from police show that 32 people were arrested in Chileka; 14 people from Chilomoni; and 78 people from Machinjiri and Kachere.
Police say those arrested are due to their involvement in the killing of two people in Blantyre (Chileka and Kachere respectively) as well as violence that erupted in the townships of Chileka, Makheta, Chilomoni, Machinjiri and Kachere.
A number of vehicles and properties were destroyed yesterday by irate residents who said were hunting for blood suckers.
The mob killed a 22-year-old epileptic man Thursday in Chileka, and another man was stoned to death in Kachere township after being suspected of vampirism or blood sucking.
This has brought the number of people killed as suspected blood suckers to ten since the rumors started early last month.
Kachama said some “deceitful people” are speading the “vampirism” mania designed to instill fear in communities and also take advantage of the situation to commit crime.
“We are deeply investigating these matter and we will get to the bottom of it,” said Kachama.
Kachama pointed out that there was no need for people to lose their sleep over the rumours since the Police has deployed security officers to help people and bring peace in areas affected by the situation.
The Inspector General appealed to communities to refrain from mob justice in dealing with such issues and advised people to allow the law take its course.
“If you have anything on blood suckers including suspects report them to the police and we would follow the right investigations and suspects will appear in the court of law so that they were prosecuted lawfully,” Kachama advised.
President Peter Mutharika tried in vain to array the rumors which police and medical workers say has no basis.
Mutharika said the reports were “distressing and agonising” and has set up a ministerial committee to look into the matter.
In a meeting with community leaders in the hot spot district of Mulanje on October 13, Mutharika had warned people to stop using witchcraft to “suck people’s blood.”
“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.
Meanwhile, UN agencies have pulled out workers from districts affected by the rumors. US embassy had already withdrawn Peace Corps volunteers from the affected districts.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :