Madagascar deploys army to search for cattle rustlers who killed 32 people

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Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina vowed on Sunday that cattle rustlers who killed at least 32 people after setting fire to houses in a town north of the capital Antananarivo will be punished.

“We must find the perpetrators of this massacre and condemn them in accordance with the current law,” said President Rajoelina.

“The Malagasy army assumes all its responsibilities to come to the rescue of the population and locate the thugs,” added the head of state.

According to police, 32 people were killed and three wounded during an attack by a gang of about 12 bandits in the village of Ambolotarakely, in the commune of Ankazobé, some 75 kilometers north of the capital, on Friday.

To locate suspects and help ground troops search the Ankazobé area, army helicopters have been deployed.

The assailants, cattle rustlers, known locally as dahalos, rounded up the victims inside three houses before setting them on fire.

The three injured were in intensive care at a local hospital.

Located on a small hill, the village of Ambolotarakely is made up of a dozen houses with thatched roofs.

Television images showed all three houses completely burned, with only parts of the walls still standing.

Island located in the Indian Ocean, Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world with chronic problems of insecurity, especially cattle rustling.

In February 2016, twelve thieves and a villager were killed in clashes between gendarmes, villagers and thieves near the tourist area of ​​Isalo, in southwestern Madagascar.

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