On Friday, a young man in Malawi suspected of vampirism and blood sucking was beaten up, set ablaze and killed by a mob near Blantyre.
According to journalist Lucy Ashton, he had been found by a graveyard near a main road outside the city of Blantyre and taken to a police station on Thursday. It is likely that he was suffering from a mental illness or epilepsy as he was carrying a health card and may have been returning from hospital, the journalist says.
A mob who had heard about the “vampire” rumours invaded the police station and dragged him outside to kill him. His death brings the number of those killed for being suspected “vampires” to eight since September.
Clinical psychologist Chiwoza Bandawe, from the University of Malawi, however explained that, ‘given the fact that we’re conservative and generally superstitious or a culture that believes in mysterious magical explanations for things then people will tend to attribute their difficulty on what they call blood suckers. It’s almost a symbolic representation of the life, their blood, their hope being drawn out of them, being sucked out of them’.
He said that tragically it was people with mental health problems who were often targeted.