Madagascar forces patrol island after mob lynchings
By Gaelle Borgia, AFPNOSY BE, Madagascar--Madagascar deployed security forces onto a popular tourist island Saturday to track down members of a raging mob which lynched and burned two Europeans and a local man they accused of killing a local boy.
October 6, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Officers on foot and in pick-ups patrolled Hell-Ville, the tiny capital of the idyllic Indian Ocean island where the government has imposed a 9:00 pm to 4:00 am curfew after the grisly murders.
A paramilitary police officer told AFP the aim was to find and arrest those who participated in the lynchings, as well as those who filmed or photographed the killings.
The gory rampage was sparked by the death of an eight-year-old boy, whose body was found on the popular Ambatoloaka beach a week after he went missing.
“His body was wet when it was found. So it's possible he drowned,” Vincent Laza, a neighborhood leader on the island, told AFP, adding the boy's genitals were missing and his intestines were exposed.
By Wednesday reports had begun to circulate that the boy had been kidnapped, causing a mob to storm the gendarme station — convinced one of the boy's killers was being held there.
Officers opened fire and two people were killed.
Amid rumors foreigners were involved, the mob of hundreds roamed the streets and got their hands on two foreigners, a Frenchman and a Franco-Italian.
Security forces said the two Europeans had been tortured into a confession, then torched on Ambatoloaka beach, a popular palm-fringed strand ringed by bars and hotels.
Pictures and video images taken by residents showed the body of one of the two men dragged by the mob. They also captured the moment when one of the bodies was burned in front of about 100 people massed on the beach, including a man who was both armed and wearing a uniform.
A pile of ash, wood, iron bars, a torso and a pair of charred legs were the only recognizable signs of the earlier orgy of violence.
An AFP reporter later witnessed a local man being dragged out of a car and burned on the street.
On Friday evening local police said they had arrested 14 people on suspicion of participating in the lynchings, or burning homes of local police.
The boy's father Luciano Anjara told AFP his son Chaino had disappeared a week ago.
“He went to the mosque all day Friday, then on Friday evening he left accompanied by his friends,” he told AFP.
“According to his friends he began to run home at Dar-es-Salam, that child loved to run. Between the market and our house, he was gone.”