Fear has gripped residents in some parts of Blantyre following the spillover of violent incidents alleged to be linked to “bloodsuckers” in Chileka, Machinjiri and Kachere.
The situation comes barely days after President Peter Mutharika visited and heard testimonies of people who claimed to have been attacked by the alleged “vampires” in Phalombe, Chiradzulu, Nsanje and Mulanje, regarded as hotspots for the alleged supernatural incidents.
Yesterday, a mob killed a 22-year-old man, said to be epileptic, at Chatha in Chileka and damaged a police unit in the process.
During a visit to Chatha Police Unit at a roadblock along the Chileka Airport road at around 10am, scores of people were seen vandalising the unit and stealing items inside the deserted container-turned-police unit.
An eyewitness said the 22-year-old was found in a garden from where he was taken to police by a group that suspected him to be one of the alleged bloodsuckers. The witness said his explanations went on deaf ears.
Said the witness: “While at the police unit waiting for a vehicle to take him to Chileka main station for questioning, people lost their patience and started to fight with the police and managed to get him out. They beat him up before torching him. In the process, the police officers fled the scene.”
By midday, there were four police vehicles, including an armoured vehicle from Police Mobile Service B Company.
Similar incidences also occurred in Kachere Township along the Limbe-Zomba Road where residents engaged in running battles with the police in the early hours of yesterday.
The Kachere residents blocked the road in search of the so-called vampires after two women claimed to have been attacked.
In the course of the commotion, some residents burnt a shop belonging to a Burundi national on suspicion that he was a bloodsucker.
In Machinjiri, residents in Khama, Madulira, Mkwate and Jumbe areas also said they had a sleepless night after a 50-strong group of people chanted and banged gates of houses, according to a resident from the area.
In a telephone interview, Southern Region Police spokesperson Ramsey Mushani warned people against taking the law into their own hands, stressing that once found, the police will not spare them.
Mushani’s sentiments were also echoed by Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) chairperson Justin Dzonzi who said no one is mandated to take the law into their own hands no matter the gravity of the case.
The Chatha victim becomes the eighth person to be killed in bloodsuckers related cases. Police have so far arrested 31 people for perpetrating mob justice. n