Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Safety of Travel to Mulanje District, Malawi

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Safety of Travel to Mulanje District, Malawi

September 22, 2017

The United States Embassy in Lilongwe is temporarily prohibiting its staff from traveling to Malawi’s Mulanje District out of an abundance of caution due to ongoing violence and tensions related to persistent rumors of attacks by human “bloodsuckers” in the villages in the area that have led to acts of vigilante justice.  The Malawi Police Service reports that since September 15, 2017, there have been at least three separate attacks on visitors to the Mount Mulanje area by local residents and multiple instances of threats and acts of intimidation.

The Malawi Police Service has repeatedly stated that rumors of “bloodsuckers” in Mulanje District are false.  Nonetheless, tensions remain high and there is no indication that they will ease in the near future.  There are additional reports of villagers sleeping outdoors to ward off potential attacks and villagers who are forming vigilante night patrols to seek out potential “bloodsuckers.”

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.).