[Reader-list] Vampire rumours in Malawi

Rana Dasgupta rana_dasgupta at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 24 11:32:39 IST 2002

follows on from monkey man rumours in Delhi and from
an earlier posting on rumours of body part theft in
Latin America - especially the second since this made
explicit the relationship between these rumours and
other, more naturalised but equally brutal, assaults
on working-class bodies.



'Vampires' strike Malawi villages

There are fears that crops are being left untended

"No government can go about sucking blood of its own
people - that's thuggery" - President Bakili Muluzi  
By Raphael Tenthani 
BBC correspondent in Blantyre  
Rumours of people being attacked for their blood have
swept southern areas of Malawi. 
Terrified villagers have left their fields untended,
too scared of becoming the next victims of the
mysterious blood-suckers. 

President Bakili Muluzi has joined other officials in
trying to calm fears and has said the rumours are
unfounded and a plot to undermine the government. 

But residents have been taking the law into their own
hands, killing one man thought to be a human vampire
and badly injuring three others. 

Some people - mainly women and children - have come
forward to say they have been victims of the

One woman showed journalists a mark on her arm where
she said a needle was inserted to draw her blood.

The alleged attacks have taken place over the last
three weeks in Blantyre as well as the districts of
Thyolo, Mulanje and Chiradzulu. 

Strangers are becoming victims of vigilantes as
villagers are wary of anyone who is not known in their

One man was stoned to death after being suspected of
working with the vampires. 

In Thyolo, villagers attacked three Roman Catholic
priests who were strangers to the area. 

They were beaten and detained overnight before a woman
recognised one of them as a priest. 

'Malicious stories' 

Police and government officials have visited the areas
hit by the stories to try to calm fears. 

Mr Muluzi, back from a private visit to Britain, has
now joined that campaign. 

He said he had been told the rumours had been spread
by "malicious and irresponsible" members of the

He had learnt the stories included claims that his
government was colluding with international aid
agencies to supply them with human blood in exchange
for food aid. 

"No government can go about sucking blood of its own
people," said the president. "That's thuggery." 

He said there would be severe punishment for the
unnamed opposition politicians once they were caught. 

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