UN wants Malawi to deal with mob killings


United nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UHCHR) has urged authorities in Malawi to act promptly to identify and prosecute people involved in mob killings, and to offer remedy to the victims.

In a statement that UHCHR spokesperson Cécile Pouilly released on Tuesday, the human rights agency is urging the authorities to address the root causes of such attacks and launch an awareness campaign to encourage people to report crimes to police rather than take justice into their own hands.

“We are concerned about the increasing number of people killed in mob attacks in Malawi. Over the past two months, at least nine separate incidents leading to the death of 16 people have been reported across the country,” the statement reads.


UHCHR, however, welcomed President Peter Mutharika’s recent statement which strongly condemned mob killings and called on all citizens, non-governmental organisations and government agencies to support the Malawi police in its fight against mob killings in accordance with the rule of law.

The statement has cited the incident on March 28 this year when a mob stormed a police station, taking a man accused of murder out of his cell and killing him in Dedza.

It also quotes the incident in which seven people accused of possessing human bones were attacked and set on fire by a mob on March 1 in describing that incident as the worst incident reported this year.


On January 25 this year, four elderly members of the same family were also beaten and killed by a mob in Neno, after being accused of using witchcraft to kill a 17-year-old woman by lightning.

The statement also took note of an incident in which residents of Machinjiri Township in Blantyre set on fire the South Lunzu magistrate’s court on February 3 this year, apparently out of fear that it would grant bail to three men suspected of murder.

Apart from what UHCHR has noted in February this year, some people also killed a 70-year-old man in Dedza on suspicion that he practised witchcraft.

In March some Blantyre city’s Chinyonga township residents burnt to death two men who they suspected of being thieves.

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