The United Nations Tuesday condemned in strongest terms the alarming number of mob justice attacks against persons accused of being bloodsuckers that are taking place across Malawi.
As of Monday, a total of nine people had been killed for being suspected to be blood suckers while 47 people had been arrested over the attacks. The attacks were recorded in Mzimba, Rumphi, Chitipa, Kasungu, Ntchisi, Dowa, Mchinji, Karonga and Nkhata Bay.
UN Resident Coordinator for Malawi, Maria Jose Torres, said in a statement, the attacks include violent assaults on police officers and health workers, as well as the destruction of buildings and vehicles.
“Dangerous myths and misinformation are feeding these vigilante attacks, which constitute serious breaches of Malawian criminal law and human rights standards. “The UN Malawi commends efforts to date by authorities to arrest suspects of these criminal acts as well as local messaging to speak out against this senseless behaviour. However, much more is required to stop this situation from worsening,” Torres said.
She said the UN is calling on national and local authorities to act urgently, including by conducting immediate investigations into all attacks; arresting and prosecuting alleged perpetrators; delivering social, psychological and medical support for victims; and rapid action to dispel the harmful beliefs that lead to these attacks.
“Members of Parliament can play an important role by countering misinformation in their constituencies, while religious and traditional leaders can send clear messages to their communities.
“The UN remains committed to supporting national authorities and communities to address this situation,” Torres said. National Police Spokesperson, James Kadadzera, on Tuesday warned that police will not entertain any cases of mob justice, saying blood sucking is a myth and is unfounded.
Kadadzera said police have intensified patrols in the affected areas to ensure that sanity prevails.