Rumour mongers of bloodsuckers face arrest: Malawi President hear testimonies of victims

President Peter Mutharika has said government will deal with those spreading fear in the blood sucking saga and  ensure it provides tight security to avoid unnecessary loss of lives.

President Mutharika in an interface meeting with Mulanje communities on rumours of blood suckers allegations at Mulanje secondary school .-Photo by Francis Mphweya, Mana
Recounting her story on ‘anamapopa’ at Mulanje secondary school .-Photo by Francis Mphweya,
One of the victims testifying t Mulanje secondary school .-Photo by Francis Mphweya,
President Mutharika bidding farewell to Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa at Mulanje secondary school .-Photo by Francis Mphweya,

Mutharika gave the assurance Friday during an interface meeting with people of Mulanje district at Mulanje Secondary School ground when he held an open court session to hear stories and testimonies of victims.

Rumours of ‘blood sucking’ have affected Mulanje and Phalombe districts, a situation that has brought disorder by destabilizing delivery of social services in some instances.

Mutharika warned that government would sternly deal with anyone caught perpetrating the crime.

“If anyone is caught in relation to the blood sucking rumours, he or she will face a severe penalty because the situation is hindering development progress in the country,” Mutharika said.

The President added that government would continue to deploy more police officers in addition to Malawi Defence Force soldiers to provide maximum security to people of Mulanje.

Mutharika observed that blood sucking rumours were not new in the country since they date back to the 1980’s.

He, therefore, assured that government devise the same measures used then to come to the bottom of the matter and arrive at a logical conclusion.

“As a nation, we are known for the peacefulness, but every now and then we are met with such problems. Government is equally concerned and that we’re doing everything in our power to bring back peace,” he said.

The President also asked people to desist from taking the law into their own hands, saying no one was above the law and that killing of ‘blood suckers,’ suspects jeopardizes investigations efforts by law enforcing agents.

Mutharika, therefore, disclosed that he would be visiting all the affected districts to establish the truth behind this disturbing situation.

In his remarks, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa expressed concern that reports of ‘blood suckers’ have had a negative effect on development activities, citing cancellation of ambulance movements during odd hours.

“We have seen a slow pace in development activities. For example, some district health officers have suspended ambulance movements at night to avoid risking damage to the vehicle and life of health workers,” Nankhumwa said.

Paramount Chief Ngongoliwa of Thyolo also expressed worry that the recent developments had a ‘knock’ at development in the affected districts.

“Your Excellency, we are also equally disturbed by the incidents which have contributed to high absenteeism in schools and forced people to sleep outside their houses for fear of being attacked,” Ngongoliwa said.

The function was an interactive session and accommodated seven people from different Traditional Authorities (T/As) who testified as victims of the act, directly or indirectly, and shared sentiments that witchcraft was at play.

Reports of ‘blood sucking’ originated from Mulanje in T/A Mabuka where a group of overzealous subjects ransacked a chiefs’ house and those belonging to his relations on suspicion that he was harbouring some foreigners on blood sucking mission in the area.

The unrest has spread to other neighbouring districts of Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Phalombe Nsanje and Zomba where at least seven people have since been killed through mob justice for being connected to ‘blood sucking.’

This was also the first time, Mutharika who is also Democratic Progress Party (DPP) leader, had no party officials dictating events as Mulanje DC Reignhald Kaweta Chavula directed the ceremony unimpeded by party loyalists and youth cadets.

So far, seven people have been killed for being suspected to be bloodsuckers or their accomplices. While over 30 people have been arrested for being suspected to be perpetrators of mob justice.

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