Call for urgent action against “bloodsucker” mob justice attacks in Malawi

Dangerous myths and misinformation are feeding these vigilante attacks, which constitute serious breaches of Malawian criminal law and human rights standards.

Press Statement

Lilongwe: The United Nations strongly condemns the alarming number of mob justice attacks against persons accused of being so-called “bloodsuckers” that are taking place across Malawi.

The media has reported five deaths in the past three weeks – two persons murdered in Mzimba around 23 March; two persons burnt to death in Chitipa around 25 March and one man murdered in Rumphi on 4 April. In addition, 10 separate violent attacks were reported during the same period in Kasungu, Ntchisi, Dowa, Mchinji, Karonga and Nkhata Bay. These attacks included violent assaults on police officers and health workers, as well as the destruction of buildings and vehicles.

Dangerous myths and misinformation are feeding these vigilante attacks, which constitute serious breaches of Malawian criminal law and human rights standards. The UN Malawi commends efforts to date by authorities to arrest suspects of these criminal acts as well as local messaging to speak out against this senseless behaviour. However, much more is required to stop this situation from worsening.

The UN calls on national and local authorities to act urgently, including by conducting immediate investigations into all attacks; arresting and prosecuting alleged perpetrators; delivering social, psychological and medical support for victims; and rapid action to dispel the harmful beliefs that lead to these attacks. Members of Parliament can play an important role by countering misinformation in their constituencies, while religious and traditional leaders can send clear messages to their communities.

The UN remains committed to supporting national authorities and communities to address this situation.

Ms. Maria Jose Torres

United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malawi


Currently, there are more than 20 Agencies and specialized organizations of the United Nations active in Malawi which, through their work, contribute to ensuring a better life for the people of Malawi.

For more information, contact: Development Coordination Officer (Programme Communications and Advocacy) in the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, Phillip Pemba, on or +265995271671.

Media Contacts
UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Atomic Energy Agency
International Fund for Agricultural Development
International Labor Organization
International Organization for Migration
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Human Settlements Programme
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
United Nations Capital Development Fund
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Department of Safety and Security
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
United Nations Volunteers
World Food Programme
World Health Organization