As mob killings of ‘blood sucking’ suspects get out of control—with two more people murdered in Mulanje on Monday night—some rights activists say government is too slow to act decisively and stop the blood-letting.
Yesterday, police in Mulanje said an angry mob at Namainja Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mabuka in Mulanje beat to death two men they believed—without proof—to be among the so-called bloodsuckers.
This was barely three days after a mob killed village head Mchanga of Nsanje on Sunday night, convinced—again without basis—that he was coordinating with bloodsuckers in the district.
Sunday’s case was even more gruesome, according to a person who was at the scene of the latest Mulanje slayings.
Samuel Mwale, whom we talked to yesterday in a telephone interview from Mulanje, said the deceased went to Mulanje Mountain for prayers on Sunday.
On their way, they met some Namainja villagers who suspected the two to be bloodsuckers. It was enough for the villagers to beat them to death.
Mwale said the village head Namainja reported the matter to police, but by the time the law enforcers arrived, the victims were dead.
“The issue of blood sucking is now becoming appalling here in Mulanje,” said Mwale.
Mulanje Police Station public relations officer Gresham Ngwira said the police were aware of the incident, but refused to give more details on the matter, only saying that the victims were yet to be identified.
Malawi Police Service national spokesperson James Kadadzera corroborated the information on the latest Mulanje killings.
“It is true that two people were killed by a mob yesterday [Sunday] for allegedly being bloodsuckers,” he said.
Kadadzera said police are condemning “these uncivilised acts by some communities” and they have increased number of police officers, particularly in Mulanje and Phalombe, as a deterrent.
He further said police have no evidence of blood sucking because up to date “nobody has fallen victim and nobody has claimed that he or she was sucked blood and certified by health personnel”.
The latest Mulanje orgy of violence brings to six the known number of blood sucking related deaths. Last month, a mob killed three people at Mitole Village in T/A Mabuka in Mulanje. Then the Nsanje chief fell victim late last week. Police say they have arrested suspects in connection with the village head’s death.
But as the lawlessness reigns and spreads—from Mulanje to Phalombe where mobs have also attacked people, but no deaths have been reported; then Nsanje and other districts in the Southern Region—Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister Grace Chiumia yesterday could only say that government is working hard to sensitise people.
“It is very sad that innocent people and chiefs are being killed like that. We have organised a team of police officers so we continue with sensitisation of the communities and I am sure the security will be enhanced in all the districts and all [places] where our tourists go. This is now a concern for every Malawian,” said Chiumia.
Human rights defenders are not impressed, saying authorities have been too slow to react decisively.
Executive directors of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation and Centre for the Development of the People, Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence, respectively said in separate interviews that government is not doing enough to protect victims.
“Government must consider this to be a crisis,” said Mtambo, adding that apart from innocent people losing lives, the killings are bad for the country’s security narrative.
On his part, Trapence called for special investigations into both the killings and the root cause of the suspicions. n