Maputo — Mozambican Foreign Minister Veronica Macamo on Monday lamented the death of two Mozambican citizens, murdered by a mob in Malawi who believed they were vampires.
The murders happened last Saturday, when the two Mozambicans were resting in their car on the border between Malawi and Tanzania.
They were accused, not only of vampirism, but also of being contaminated with the coronavirus which causes the respiratory disease Covid-19. Hysteria about vampires (known in Portuguese as "chupas-sangue" - literally bloodsuckers) has been a recurrent phenomenon in northern Mozambique, and now this baseless rumour has crossed into the neighbouring country.
Macamo was speaking at a Maputo press conference after the start of a video-conference with her counterparts in the other member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to discuss measures to be taken on the movement of people and goods between SADC members during the current coronavirus pandemic.
She said she had received information about the murders from the Mozambican embassy in Malawi. The details were still sparse, and the Mozambican side is waiting for a formal communication about the bloody incident from the Malawian authorities. She thought that "in a situation of fear and worry", the resting Mozambicans were confused with somebody else.
One of the victims has been named as Vicente Taulayi, who was a policeman stationed at the Tete provincial police command. He was with two other Mozambicans, and they were driving to Tanzania to pick up vehicles.
One of the Mozambicans survived, thanks to intervention by the Malawian police, and, according to the independent daily "O Pais", he is being protected by the Malawian authorities. The police say the ringleaders of the lynch mob have been arrested and appeared before a Malawian court.
As for the discussions among the SADC Council of Ministers, Macamo said the circulation of merchandise, particularly food, medicines and fuel, between SADC member states is guaranteed.