CEDP, CHRR Condemn ‘Bloodsucker’ Attacks

The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and the Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) have expressed concern with resurgence of bloodsucking rumors and associated attacks in some districts in the country.

The concerns come in the wake of recent attacks on ESCOM workers in Mchinji, Mzuzu and the latest in Nkhotakota district where members of the community accused them of being blood suckers.

CHRR and CEDEP have, however, called on ESCOM not to stop providing services in the areas but collaborate with police and community leaders to resolve the problem.

In Mchinji, at least, five people were severely assaulted, two vehicles smashed while one vehicle was set on fire.  A shop was also demolished and looted. Some ambulances have also been attacked whilst being used to ferry patients to and or from hospital.

“This is despicable and we condemn all these and all similar acts of barbarism on innocent people unreservedly and in the strongest language possible.

“The consequences of these rumors on social and health services are immense, especially this time around when the country is facing a Coronavirus pandemic. The propagation of these rumors has a potential to undermine or derail efforts to contain the spread of the virus, which is escalating everyday,” observe CEDEP and CHRR in a joint statement.

The two organizations have since called on government to move in and address the underlying causes of the bloodsucking rumors to ensure that return to normalcy.

In a statement signed for by CEDEP Director Gift Trapence and Acting Director for CHRR Michael Kaiyatsa, the two organizations specifically ask the police to take proactive measures to stop the on-going acts of violence in line with their constitutional mandate.

“These acts of violence call for immediate and urgent thorough investigations, arrest of suspects and prosecution of the perpetrators of violence according to the law. In this regard, CHRR and CEDEP are deeply disturbed by the failure of the police to deal with these acts of violence with speed and without fear,” reads part of the statement.

Failure by the police to execute their functions, say the two organizations, has instilled public fear resulting in the increasing violence and acts of mob justice.

CEDEP and CHRR have also asked faith, traditional and political leaders to join hands in sensitizing communities on the need to stop engaging in violence and unjustified beliefs.

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