United Nations pulls staff from Malawi after vampire scare

Malawi UN soldiers patrol outside Bunagana

The US embassy in the country has also made a decision to withdraw the Peace Corps volunteers from four districts and recommended that US citizens stay away because of "ongoing acts of vigilante justice stemming from rumors of persons attempting to steal blood from local residents for ritualistic use in so-called black magic or other nefarious purposes".

"Some UN staff have relocated while others are still in the districts depending on locations of their operations", acting UN Resident Coordinator Florence Rolle told Reuters in an emailed statement.

"Belief in witchcraft is widespread in rural Malawi, one of the world's poorest countries, where many aid agencies and NGOs work", The Guardian says.

The UN isn't alone in withdrawing staff from the area, as the U.S. Embassy in the country has also withdrawn a team of Peace Corps volunteers temporarily and has advised U.S. citizens not to visit the area.

Rumours of vampires has led to vigilantes mounting road blocks in the Phalombe and Mulanje districts to identify the blood sucking corpses.

Saying the victims had been targeted after being believed to be seeking blood for spiritual rituals, Kadadzera went on to say there is no evidence of vampires and that police blame the communities for taking the law into their own hands.

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Malawi President Arthur Peter Mutharika is facing a rash of vampire rumors in his country.

They have also continued to send armed mobs out into the streets to search for the alleged vampires.

His office said: 'This development has been of grave concern to the President and the entire Government'.

It is unclear what sparked the fears, but - according to a United Nations report seen by news agency Reuters - villagers had set up road blocks as they tried to hunt the "vampires" down.

The report recommended a "temporary suspension of United Nations activities in the area until the situation is normalized", adding that the rumors allegedly began in neighboring Mozambique.

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