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DFAT updates advisory as vampire attacks continue

October 27, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Police in the southeast African nation of Malawi say they have made over 200 arrests as they crack down hard on crazed lynch mobs who have been killing people they believe to be vampires.

The violence erupted over two weeks ago (see: Vampire frenzy forces UN to move staff to safety) but it wasn’t until Wednesday this week that Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) upgraded its travel advisory.

DFAT’s latest update states: “There have been recent incidents of unrest and violence in the Mulanje district. We now advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in the Mulanje district. Exercise normal safety precautions in Malawi overall. Higher levels apply in some parts of the country.” DFAT adds that caution in Mulanje is particularly necessary “after dark”.

“Since September 2017, the Malawi police have reported incidents of unrest, property damage, intimidation and violence in the Mulanje district, including against foreigners. Contact the Mountain Club of Malawi for safety advice before climbing Mount Mulanje.”

Malawi’s Information Minister, Nicholaus Dausi, has confirmed the government is putting soldiers on the streets to stem the vampire rumours that have led to least nine deaths, Malawi’s Nyasa Times reported.

President Peter Mutharika has been visiting areas affected by the violence.

The attacks are reported to have spread last week to Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city, and to the Zomba district. A 22-year-old man accused of bloodsucking was stoned then burned to death and another man was stoned to death.

Medical authorities deny the existence of vampirism in Malawi and attribute the frenzied outbreaks to a form of mass hysteria.

In a bizarre new twist, doctors in Malawi say they have been attacked by vigilante mobs for carrying stethoscopes. Some hotheads accuse the doctors of being vampires using the instruments to suck blood.

The latest update issued by the British Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office says: “Following unrest and violence in the Mount Mulanje area, there are reports of tensions and unrest spreading to rural parts and township areas of Blantyre, Zomba and Nsanje districts.

“On 19 October 2017, there are also reports of unrest and disturbances on the Chileka Road which is the main route to the airport from Blantyre; you should exercise extreme caution in these areas, especially after dark, avoid any demonstrations or large groups of people and follow local security advice.”

The official British warning adds ominously: “This unrest has been linked to rumours of people coming to the area to steal blood from local residents for use in ‘black magic’ rituals. People not known to the local community are most likely to be the targets of violence.”

Written by Peter Needham

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