‘Vampires’ targeted in mob attacks leads to 140 arrests in Malawi
Around 140 people have been arrested in Malawi after deadly mob attacks on people suspected of being “vampires”.
Police said more arrests are expected after the situation spun out of control, with nine people having been killed.
The attacks began last month after rumours 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. Another person there was stoned to death.
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 US Embassy have blacklisted some of the areas as dangerous zones for staffers.
Inspector general of police Lexon Kachama said: “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.”
Government officials have said the attacks are harming the deeply impoverished country’s image.
Residents including health officials, teachers and traditional leaders have said their homes were destroyed after rumours spread that they were harbouring “vampires”.