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Vampire frenzy forces UN to move staff to safety

October 12, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Lynch mobs roaming the streets in search of vampires to kill have driven the United Nations to pull its employees out of districts described as “severely affected by the ongoing stories of blood sucking and possible existence of vampires”.

The districts concerned are not in Transylvania but in the Republic of Malawi, a landlocked nation in southeast Africa. Formerly named Nyasaland, Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries. Belief in witchcraft and vampires is common, particularly in rural areas.

The UN has evacuated its employees from two districts in the south of the country as vampire frenzy rages and howling mobs block roads as they hunt for the undead. Anti-vampire lynch mobs have killed at least five people.

The UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) confirmed this week that the Mulanje and Phalombe districts of Malawi have been “severely affected by the ongoing stories of blood sucking and possible existence of vampires”.

Acting UN Resident Coordinator Florence Rolle told that some staff had been relocated due to the frenzy.


Rumours of vampires are thought to have started in neighbouring Mozambique, though it’s not known quite how they began.

The last serious bout of vampire-inspired violence in Malawi was in 2002. Since then, authorities in that country, along with the UN, have switched targets to combat a spate of ritual murders and human sacrifices. The victims are people suffering from albinism, a congenital disorder causing the skin to lack pigmentation, making the skin appear very white. Albinos are being murdered to secure their body parts for witchdoctors to use in magic potions.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, and Amnesty International have warned of a black market in Africa for the body parts of albinos. The gruesome trade runs to millions of dollars, with the UN warning that an estimated 10,000 people with albinism in Malawi face “systematic elimination”.

The risk extends to people suspected of being vampires.

Despite these bizarre disturbances, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has not updated its travel advice for Malawi. The level remains “exercise normal safety precautions”, meaning DFAT considers Malawi safer overall than, say, South Africa, France or Thailand.

“Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia,” DFAT advises visitors to Malawi. It adds however: “Carjackings, particularly of four wheel drive vehicles, occur frequently in urban areas. Never offer a lift to strangers. You should not resist if your vehicle is attacked.”

Meanwhile, Malawi’s wonderful wildlife viewing continues to attract tourists from around the world. They visit places like Malawi’s premier wildlife haven, Mvuu Camp, where guests look out from the property and watch game drink from the Shire River alongside the camp.

“Crocodile and hippo call the river home and are joined by a wide diversity of birdlife,” says Ultimate Travel Malawi. “Guests can get a closer look at the local wildlife via a boat trip into camp.”

Tourism from Australia to sub-Saharan Africa is holding up, despite some weird occurrences. Quite apart from the vampire hysteria in Malawi, an outbreak of cannibalism in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province was exposed last month when a man walked into a police station, handed over several body parts and said he was “tired of eating human flesh”. Police subsequently raided a witchdoctor’s house and found eight human ears cooking in a stew pot.

Tourists know they are very unlikely to encounter such horrors so they are not deterred. In seasonally adjusted terms, 13,600 Australians visited sub-Saharan Africa in July 2017 (latest figures available) versus 13,100 who visited it in July last year, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data. That’s an increase of 3.8%.

Written by Peter Needham

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