Madagascar island smolders after lynchings over organ harvesting
By Gaelle Borgia, AFPNOSY BE, Madagascar -- Tensions simmered Friday on the once idyllic Madagascar resort island where a mob lynched two Europeans and a local man suspected of killing a boy for his organs.
October 5, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Piles of ash marked the spots on Nosy Be where a local man, a French national and a man with dual Italian and French nationality were burned by a furious mob.
The three were suspected of killing an 8-year-old local boy and mutilating his corpse, sparking an orgy of violence that rocked this tropical Indian Ocean haven.
With some vigilantes still on the hunt for a rumored fourth suspect, a team of top government ministers jetted in to the holiday spot to meet local leaders in a bid to calm tensions.
French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot confirmed Friday that “two of our citizens are dead” — one of whom also had Italian nationality — and said officials were “in contact with the families.”
“An inquiry has been opened with Malagasy authorities. According to our information, six people have been arrested,” Lalliot said.
Local residents insisted there was no risk to tourists.
“We are targeting the culprits. It's public justice — we just kill them, and if you refuse to kill them we kill you because you're an accomplice,” said Jacob, a resident from the island's capital Hell-Ville.
“We've got nothing against foreigners. You can come visit and there won't be a problem,” he told AFP.
Security forces said the two Europeans had been tortured into a confession Thursday, then burned on Ambatoloaka beach, a popular palm-fringed strand ringed by bars and hotels.
'The foreigners confessed'
District head Malaza Ramanamahafahy said the Frenchman, named as Sebastien Judalet, had a 60-day tourist visa issued on September 15 and his passport indicated he was a frequent visitor to Madagascar.
Ramanamahafahy said the Italian, whom he named as Roberto Gianfala, had an expired Madagascan visa.
An Italian foreign ministry spokesman said: “I can confirm the Italian nationality of the victim but not his identity, the corpse was burnt.”