According to the country’s defense ministry, local bandits known as dahalo set homes on fire on Friday, killing at least 32 people in a region of Madagascar north of the capital.
The killings took place overnight into Friday in the Ankazobe district, which is located about 75 kilometres north of the capital Antananarivo.
“People here experienced a real tragedy. many lives were lost. 32 people died. It is a crime perpetrated by ruthless dahalo (bandits) who burned alive even women and children,” Defence Minister General Richard Rakotonirina said in a video posted on the ministry’s Facebook page late on Saturday said.
In some regions of Madagascar, organised criminal gangs known as the dahalo steal cattle from locals and organise other types of banditry.
“We will hunt down those who committed this crime and their accomplices,” Rakotonirina said, adding security forces had been deployed to the area to hunt down the perpetrators.
He added the attack on the area was likely revenge by the “dahalo” against community members for providing information to security personnel during previous operations against them.
Violence between residents and criminal groups is common, and it frequently begins with cattle rustling by the assailants.
Authorities say that the attack was a reprisal for the neighborhood’s cooperation with security personnel during earlier operations against them.
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