Malawi Police say they number of arrested suspected members of vigilante mobs that have been killing people they believe are vampires has reached 200.
Information minister Nicholaus Dausi told Reuters that the government will put soldiers on the streets to stem the vampire rumours that have resulted in at least nine deaths. killed since mid-September in southern Malawi where there is a widespread belief in witchcraft. The violence has prompted the United Nations and the U.S. embassy to declare some parts of the country no-go zones.
He said: “We are deploying the army in townships and districts affected to help police calm down the situation and save lives.”
President Peter Mutharika has been visiting areas affected by the violence.
Lexon Kachama, inspector general of Malawi Police, previously said officers were doing everything possible to stem the violence, including mass arrests.
Disturbing video posted on social media shows villagers killing one man who they suspected of being a vampire.
The attacks spread last week to Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city where a 22-year-old man was stoned then burned to death and another was stoned to death.
Both were accused of bloodsucking, although medical experts deny the existence of vampirism in Malawi.
Amos Daka, head of the Society of Medical Doctors inMalawi, said his group was not aware “that any one has adequate clinical evidence to support any of the many claims to date.”
In its latest travel advice for Malawi, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office warned of unrest and violence in the Mount Mulanje area spreading to rural parts of Blantyre.
The FCO advised: “You should exercise extreme caution in these areas, especially after dark, avoid any demonstrations or large groups of people and follow local security advice.
“This unrest has been linked to rumours of people coming to the area to steal blood from local residents for use in ‘black magic’ rituals.
“People not known to the local community are most likely to be the targets of violence.
“Tensions remain high and have spread to the neighbouring districts of Thyolo, Chiradzulu and Phalombe. You should exercise extreme caution in these areas.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :