140 arrested in Malawi clampdown after ‘vampire’ killings
By Jerry Owilli
Police in Malawi said 140 suspected members of vigilante mobs that have targeted people accused of vampirism have been arrested.
At least nine people have been killed in the ongoing attacks.
The lynch mob attacks began in mid-September in four districts of southern Malawi, where belief in witchcraft is widespread, Reuters reports.
This week they spread to Blantyre, the country’s second-biggest city, where mobs torched one person and stoned another to death on Wednesday, the report said.
“We have so far arrested 140 people we suspect are behind the mob killings in Blantyre and other districts and the investigations are still going on,” Lexon Kachama, inspector general of Malawi Police, told reporters.
Kachama further said that police were doing everything possible to ensure the attacks do not spread to other cities.
President Peter Mutharika has also been visiting parts of the country affected by the violence.
The United Nations and US embassy have blacklisted several districts in Malawi as dangerous zones for staffers and nationals.
Earlier this month the UN pulled staff out of two areas in southern Malawi.