The US Embassy in Lilongwe has put temporary travel restrictions on embassy staff regarding any travel to Mulanje, in southern Malawi, due to ongoing rumours about ‘bloodsuckers’. There have been multiple cases of outsiders being attacked and killed in rural areas due to a fear that they are vampires. A team of BBC journalists were attacked in February this year , and the United Nations and the US Peace Corps withdrew staff from several districts last October.
The Embassy has banned personal travel, and official travel must be during the daytime with overnight accommodation in secure urban areas. Other visitors to Mulanje are urged to take appropriate security measures as well. See below for more advice.
#Malawi Security Alert: Temporary restrictions on Embassy staff traveling to #Mulanje District out of an abundance of caution due to rumors of attacks by human “bloodsuckers” in villages of rural Southern Mulanje that have led to acts of vigilante justice. https://t.co/uTdZLUIqBf pic.twitter.com/wApgafBPwl
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) July 26, 2018
From the US Embassy in Lilongwe, issued July 26th 2018 –
The United States Embassy in Lilongwe is implementing temporary restrictions on its staff when traveling to Malawi’s Mulanje District out of an abundance of caution due to a resurgence of rumors of attacks by human “bloodsuckers” in the villages of rural Southern Mulanje that have led to acts of vigilante justice. There are additional reports of villagers forming vigilante night patrols searching for travelers, foreigners, and other suspicious strangers.
At this time, all personal travel to Mulanje District is prohibited for Embassy staff. All official travel to the area must occur during daylight hours and overnight accommodations must be made inside urban areas such as Blantyre and Zomba. Visits to the district are to be coordinated such that two or more vehicles will be engaged for any travel.
We strongly encourage you to exercise caution if traveling to the area. Please review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Malawi enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Malawi. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.
Contact the U.S. embassy for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.
The U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe is located at on Kenyatta Drive, Area 40, Plot 24, Lilongwe 3, and is open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Telephone 1-733-166. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance outside of business hours, the emergency after-hours number for the U.S. Embassy is 01-773-166, ext. 3443 (if in Malawi) or 011-265-1-773-166, ext. 3443 (if in the U.S.). Please state that you are a U.S. Citizen, your name, your passport number, and the type of emergency that you are facing. The security personnel will then forward your call to the appropriate person to assist you.
In the event that the land line is malfunctioning, please call the following mobile number 0999-591-024 and 0888-734-826 (if in Malawi) or 011-265-999-591-024 and 011-265-888-734-826 (if in the U.S.).
Please click through here for further embassy details.
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