Couple in Malawi burned to death following witchcraft accusation

A Malawian couple in the village of Mtendere in Karonga have been burned to death in mob-attack following allegations of witchcraft, according to the Nyasa Times (warning: graphic content).

It is reported that the couple, 76-year old Taipi Vinkhumbo and 65 year old Marinara Vinkhumbo, were accused of witchcraft following three deaths in the local area linked to a ‘mysterious crocodile’. They are reported to have died on Tuesday 27th October.

The Association for Secular Humanism in Malawi has been at the forefront of campaigning against witch hunting and extra-judicial killings.

George Malawi

George Thindwa, Executive Director of ASH

Commenting on this news, Gordon MacRae, HSS Chief Executive, said:

“Sadly news like this has become all to commonplace. States have very clear obligations under international human rights law to combat extra judicial killings.

“We are proud to be working in partnership with the Association for Secular Humanism in Malawi to help build their capacity to campaign against witchcraft accusations.”

Responding to this news Leo Igwe, human rights activist and former Western and Southern African representative for IHEU, said:

“The news of the burning of a Malawian couple who were accused of witchcraft should shock the international community into taking urgent steps to tackle witch hunting in the region. Unfortunately at the moment, a coordinated global response to this problem is lacking. Witch hunting may be history in most parts of the Western world but this is not the case in Africa. Witchcraft accusation remains a form of death sentence in the region. So, a global initiative to address this problem is needed now.”

George Thindwa, Executive Director of Association for Secular Humanism in Malawi said:

“The Association for Secular Humanism condemns such barbaric and inhuman killings in the name of witchcraft. This should not be happening in the 21 st Century. In our efforts to eradicate witchcraft based violence in Malawi, we are geared to stop any of such heinous crimes towards the elderly and women in Malawi. may our colleagues locally and abroad join us in this fight.”

Please consider donating to support the Scotland Malawi Humanist Partnership.

Photo: George Thindwa, Executive Director of ASH, meets with a local community group to discuss witch hunting.

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