AfricaAt least 11 civilians killed in Gendarmes shooting in Madagascar
Gendarmes, calling for self-defense, opened fire in front of a camp on angry mobs in Madagascar on Monday.
At least eleven people were killed in Madagascar on Monday after what they called self-defense, surrounding a murky case of the abduction of an albino child, opened fire on angry residents inside a palace.
The toll of the incident, which took place in Ikongo, a small town in the south-east of the island, about 350 km from the capital Antananarivo, has not yet been firmly established. A doctor from the local hospital where the victims were taken, contacted by AFP by phone, said that 18 people had died – including nine who died in the health facility – and 34 were injured.
“Nine is between life and death,” said Dr. Tango Oscar Toki. The gendarmes gave a low toll of 11 dead and 18 wounded. In the morning, scenes rang out in Ikongo, nestled in the green hills of the big island in the Indian Ocean.
The missing albino child
Since last week, the city has been in shock: a child, an albino, has gone missing and authorities suspect abduction. In this southern African country, people with albinism are often targets of violence, often because of certain beliefs.
According to the United Nations, more than a dozen kidnappings, attacks and killings have been reported in Madagascar in the past two years. After the child went missing, four suspects were arrested and detained at Ikongo barracks. But local residents decided to take the law into their own hands.
They went to the gendarmerie camps on Monday and asked them to hand over the four suspects, district deputy Jean Brunelle Razafintsiandraofa told AFP. At least 500 people disembarked, some armed with “bladed weapons” and “knives,” according to a gendarmerie source at the scene.
A security perimeter was established, the gendarmes tried to talk to the people, reason with them and “avoid a bloodbath”, commander Andriy Rakotondrazaka described during a press conference in the capital. He then spoke of “provocations”, people armed with “long knives and sticks”, as well as throwing stones.
Things got out of hand as the crowd tried to breach the security perimeter. The gendarmes used tear gas and fired warning shots. “But, as a last resort, the gendarmes have no choice but to resort to self-defense,” explained the gendarmerie commander. “It was a very sad event, we could have avoided it, but what happened happened,” he said.
“Over the Crowd” shots
They “fired on the crowd,” Jean Brunel Razafintziandrafa fumed. By the end of the afternoon, authorities continued to organize evacuations. Some of the injured had to be airlifted, Dr. According to Toki, some of the hospitalized victims described “bleeding fractures, exudations, punctured chests.”
Member of Parliament Razafintsiandraofa has announced that he will demand a parliamentary inquiry. The Malagasy police continue to be singled out by civil society for human rights violations that are rarely prosecuted.
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