Jamiya Bauleni, reported to have been attacked by a
vampire, in his village of Ngolongoliwa, (Southern Malawi),
October 28, 2017
„They are not quips, we drank my blood.“ For weeks,
incredible accounts of vampire attacks have wreaked havoc in
Malawi, where angry crowds have lynched dead „blood-suckers“ to
death and forced the army to intervene.
In her village Ngolongoliwa (south), Jamiya Bauleni tells
her astonishing story in front of a swarm of barefoot
It was October 2, in the middle of the night. „I saw light
in a corner of my roof,“ says this mother. „I saw a rope hang
and smoke around me, I tried unsuccessfully to get up from my
bed and there I felt a needle piercing my left arm.“
Jamiya, 40, claims to have heard someone faint from the roof
before fainting. In shock, she was briefly hospitalized in a
clinic and then sent home, „treated“ with antibiotics.
A neighbor, Florence Kalunga, 27, says she was attacked the
same night. She was sleeping beside her husband when she saw a
light, „like fire“. „I heard the door open (and) I felt a
needle piercing my finger,“ she reports.
These stories about the presence of vampires regularly
agitate Malawi, where traditional beliefs remain deeply rooted
in the population. Albinos are notably executed for their
organs, used in rituals of black magic.
The last outbreak of fever that shakes the country came from
neighboring Mozambique. Rumor has it that vampires crossed the
border to collect human blood under the guise of a population
assistance program. It spread like wildfire and this time took
a particularly violent turn.
– ‚Lie‘ –
Since September, self-defense groups have killed as many as
nine people suspected of drinking or attempting to drink human
blood during black magic ceremonies.
On September 30, Orlendo Chaponda almost fell victim to this
hunt for „monsters“.
That day, dozens of people armed with stones and machetes
land at his home near Mulanje (south) screaming: „You hide
Distraught, Orlendo Chaponda manages to leave his house in
extremis and takes refuge at the police station.
„My wife let them come in to check if there were blood
drinkers … If they found me, they could have killed me,“ he
shudders again today. .
Orlendo Chaponda, on October 28, 2017, in Mulanje
(southern Malawi), was victim of the „monster hunt“
After seizing the countryside, vampire rumors spread to
Blantyre, the country’s economic capital.
In October, armed militia groups patrolled poor
neighborhoods in search of „blood drinkers“. One person was
burned alive and another stoned to death.
The turmoil took a turn so worrying that President Peter
Mutharika had to step up to denounce „very disturbing examples
of popular justice“. „Nothing proves the existence of blood
drinkers, it’s a lie that aims to destabilize the region,“ he
Fooling or not, the authorities sent police and military
reinforcements and even imposed a curfew in several districts
of the country to restore calm.
– ‚Attack the rich‘ –
Blackout measures have recently been lifted but the army and
police remain mobilized as tension persists.
In late November, 22 people were arrested in the Chikwawa
district, south of Blantyre, for ransacking a hotel where they
McDonald Kolokombe, an employee of the Likhubulaz
Forest Reserve (Southern Malawi), on October 28, 2017, complains
of declining numbers of tourists due to rumors of the presence of
vampires in the area
In total, more than 250 people were arrested in Malawi in
connection with violence related to rumors about vampires.
„Economic hardship and inequality“ is the breeding ground
for these rumors and scenes of collective violence, says
Anthony Mtuta, a lecturer in anthropology at the Catholic
University of Malawi. „The poor think that the rich are greedy
and they suck their blood.“
For Orlendo Chaponda, „the jealous and the delinquents take
advantage (of these rumors) to attack the rich“. „If you have a
nice car, you’re bound to be a blood drinker – it’s all about
illiteracy and poverty.“
The disorders that have seized some provinces forced the
United Nations to suspend its missions within a few weeks.
Volunteers from the Peace Corps have also been evacuated as a
Far from being anecdotal, vampire agitation has begun to
weigh on the activity of the southern districts of Malawi,
where the mountains, popular with foreign hikers, are now
Since mid-September, tourists are
shunning the Likhubula National Forest Reserve (south),
despairs one of its employees, McDonald Kolokombe. „Here,
people are guides, porters or souvenir sellers, they rely on
tourists to live,“ he says.
„It’s hard to eat because of a bad rumor about so-called
blood suckers,“ laments another guide, Eric Yohane. „This is
all a big lie.“