Vampires are more than ghost stories in some places. In Malawi, a vampire scare has led to a spate of ongoing killings.
The African country is facing on-going mob violence, forcing the United Nations to evacuate its staff from some parts of the country. This isn’t the first time Malawi faced a vampire crisis. It happened before in 2002.
According to Reuters, quoting a U.N. Department on Safety and Security report, vigilante groups sprung up in September after rumors surfaced that vampires were going around and draining people of their blood in real life. Much like the Salem witch trials in 1692, the rumors led to the formation of mobs, who’ve killed people accused of vampirism.
“These districts have severely been affected by the ongoing stories of blood sucking and possible existence of vampires,” the agency said about the southern part of Malawi.
According to the report, roving bands of armed vigilantes have set up road blocks to catch and kill vampires. The effort has raised security concerns for U.N. workers operating in the area.
Florence Rolle, the acting U.N. Resident Coordinator in the region, told Reuters that “some U.N. staff have relocated while others are still in the districts depending on locations of their operations.”
The report further stipulates that the vampire rumor may have come from neighboring Mozambique, where the U.N. also recommended a temporary suspension of their activities.
In a statement to the public, the office of Malawi President Peter Mutharika called the mob violence “distressing and agonizing.”
“This development has been of grave concern to the President and the entire Government,” the statement read.
Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries and depends heavily on foreign economic assistance through the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the donations of individual countries.