A wave of lynch mob attacks in the east African country of Malawi against people accused of being vampires has resulted in two more deaths, police said on Thursday (19 October). The attacks against people have spread to Blantyre, its second largest city.
Lynch mob attacks began in mid-September in which at least six people were killed in southern Malawi after they were accused of behaving like vampires.
In the latest incident, mobs "torched a 22-year-old epileptic man in Chileka, and another man was stoned to death ... after being suspected of being a bloodsucker", Ramsy Mushani, a national police spokesman said.
The first incident was reportedly witnessed by a Reuters reporter at a police checkpoint on a road heading to the city's airport.
Members of the victim's family confirmed that the man was epileptic and that he was killed while walking home from a nearby hospital.
The victims were lynched by groups of vigilantes following claims that they had consumed human blood as part of magic rituals.
Malawian President Peter Mutharika has been visiting different parts of the country that have been affected by the vampire scare.
"I am deeply concerned with the development, I don't know who started [the rumour] here in our country but I understand that it originated from Mozambique," he said during a rally on 10 October, according to local news site Nyasa Times.
Several districts in Malawi have been blacklisted as dangerous by the UN and US embassy. Earlier this month the UN had even pulled staff out of two districts in southern Malawi.
"These districts have severely been affected by the ongoing stories of blood sucking and possible existence of vampires," the UN Department on Safety and Security (UNDSS) said in a security report on the Phalombe and Mulanje districts, RT news website reported.