Acting Commissioner of Police for Central Region Headquarters, Evalista Chisale has quashed rumours of bloodsuckers which are making rounds in some of the districts in the country as vigilante groups continue to people claiming to be protecting communities from the cult.
Chisale said the rumours are myths since there was no reported case of a person whose blood was sucked to date.
Speaking in Dedza on Thursday when Police engaged communities on the issue of blood suckers, Chisale said that it was sad to note that innocent lives are being lost due to the bloodsucking rumours in the central region.
“Malawi Police Service was concerned with whatwas happening in the central region whereby people are being killed on allegations that they are blood suckers,”said Chisale
She advised the community not to take the law into their own hands, saying it was an offence to punish anyone suspected to have committed a crime.
“It was the communities’ responsibility to report to the Police about anyone they suspect to have committed any crime,” Chisale said.
She added: “The Police is one of the organizations mandated by law to commit all suspected offenders to court where the punishment can be given if the suspect is found guilty.”
Chisale said at least eight people had been killed so far and that Police are investigating the attacks, 117 people have been arrested.
President Peter Mutharika has since condemned the killings.
In an address to the nation earlier, Mutharika said: “These rumours are baseless and only deliberately created,”. He described the attacks as a “political strategy” to create “fear and panic” before an election re-run this year.He recalled similar rumours ahead of last year’s presidential elections, and said the scaremongering was now taking place “when we have a collective war against coronavirus”.
It is not the first time rumours of “bloodsuckers” have fuelled violence in Malawi. A similar spate of mob attacks took place in 2017, leaving nine people dead and prompting 250 arrests.
The United Nations has called on the government to prosecute perpetrators and dispel the rumours.
“Dangerous myths and misinformation are feeding these vigilante attacks,” the UN’s resident coordinator in the country, Maria Torres, said in a statement.
“[The killings] constitute serious breaches of Malawian criminal law and human rights standards.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :