MULANJE, Malawi (NBC News) — Since September, a vampire scare has triggered mob violence in Malawi that has killed at least eight people accused of being bloodsuckers.
The vampire rumors appear to have originated in neighboring Mozambique, although it’s not clear what sparked them.
Belief in witchcraft is widespread in rural Malawi, a country in the southern section of Africa. Authorities say they are struggling to convince the population that the vampire rumors are not true.
“I am trying telling this group but still people are not taking it because of some gang leaders who are spreading the news,” said Chikumbu, Mulanje senior chief. “They should come to the open and tell people. They are just spreading the rumors there and making people live in fear. People are living in fear just because of them.”
This isn’t the first time vigilante violence linked to vampire rumors has erupted in this country. Last time this happened was in 2002.