Investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas has revealed how the ‘hand of God’ saved him from being lynched by a mob in northern Malawi during an investigation on ritual killings.
Anas in a statement copied to Graphic Online said the incident was the closest he had come to death in his many years of work as a journalist.
According to Anas, who worked closely with a team of producers at BBC/Africa Eye on the documentary titled: Malawi’s Human Harvest, he was nearly lynched by vigilantes who mistook his team for ritual killers.
Anas posed as a businessman man with a secret taste for Muti magic during the sting.
In order to ensure that no one was harmed on his behalf, he tricked his subjects into believing that he would provide his own body parts for the rituals.
The investigation turned sour when Anas and his team met with some suspected ritualists at a secluded spot.
The ritualists who claimed to have killed about 12 people offered them two ritual murders which was to cost $8,000 as well as bloodsucking.
They claimed to have killed a 10-year-old and removed his tongue and genitals.
After their meeting, Anas and his producers as well as suspected were greeted by a good-humoured crowd around their vehicle when they emerged.
However, when the ritualists merged into the crowd and left the scene, the mob turned hostile and started shoving Anas and his producer and calling them killers as captured in the undercover video recording copied to Graphic Online.
The crowd refused to back down even after Anas exposed his cover by showing them his BBC ID cards.
“They started shoving us, pushing us. The crowd was becoming huge now…,’ the documentary voiced by Anas narrates.
“Volunteer policemen based in the village realised we really were journalists working for the BBC, they did their best to protect us but the situation was quickly getting out of control.
“They started attacking them (volunteer policemen) too, they used their bodies as human shields, some of them got injured in the process.”
An associate of Anas managed to call the police who assured them they would be at the scene but they never came.
The mob then proceeded to march them to the Chief’s palace, warning them that failure to do so would result in their death.
“I could feel someone drive a knife cut through my suit. When we got into the valley they were going to end our lives and there was nothing that could stop them, nothing.
“We knew that was the moment I was going to die, I held the hand of my producer. We had to just run, hold each other’s arm and run, we kept on running. We were surprised we made it out alive. It was just the hand of God that took us out of this”.
They finally arrived at the house of the chief, were they remained trapped until a local MP came to their aid.