Maputo — The police have arrested eight people for spreading rumours about vampires which led to violent scenes in Cuamba district, in the northern Mozambican province of Niassa, reports Monday's issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.
The belief in vampires led to rioting in which the Cuamba district secretary of the Mozambique Youth Organisation (OJM), the youth wing of the ruling Frelimo Party, and a community leader in Mepica locality were accused of protecting the vampires.
According to Bilardo Mbalango, public relations officer of the Cuamba police district command, only prompt police intervention prevented the mob from lynching their two intended victims.
The police restored order to the areas affected, and those accused of spreading the rumour are now in police cells awaiting trial.
Speaking in the Cuamba administrative post of Lurio, on the occasion of National Health Week, the Niassa provincial governor, Arlindo Chilundo denied that there are any such things as vampires. The vampires, he said, were no more than a fiction invented by people who want to use rumours to destabilise communities.
Chilundo compared the phenomenon to the environment during the war of destabilisation, when, hearing rumours of impending attacks, people abandoned their homes and slept in the bush. The people who spread the rumours were then able to loot the homes left temporarily empty.
The panic spread by the vampire rumour, said the governor, could divert people away from their agricultural and other activities aimed at the harmonious growth of the country.
Chilundo urged citizens to be vigilant and to denounce all those who tried to distract them from the main task, which is the fight against poverty.