Madagascar authorities are searching, Sunday, for a gang of cattle thieves who killed at least 32 people by setting homes on fire in a village north of Antananarivo.
The Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Facebook that military helicopters were deployed to locate the suspects and help the ground forces search in the Ankazube region, 75 kilometers north of the capital.
The President: “The perpetrators must be identified and punished according to the law.” Andrey Rajoelina She said in a statement on social media, describing the killings as a “massacre.”
“The Malagasy army is responsible for rescuing the locals and hunting down the outlaws.”
Police said 32 people were killed and three wounded when a gang of about a dozen bandits attacked the village of Ambulutarkli in Ankazube on Friday.
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Police said the attackers – cattle rustlers known locally as dahlo – arrested the victims inside three homes and set buildings on fire. The three injured were taken to intensive care at a local hospital.
The village of Ambulutarkli is located on a small hill, and is made up of about a dozen thatched-roof houses.
Television images from the scene showed the three houses completely burned, leaving only parts of the walls.
Police said the perpetrators likely lived in nearby areas.
“The army will do everything in its power to apprehend the perpetrators of this massacre as soon as possible,” Defense Minister Richard Rakotonerina told local media while visiting Ambulutarkli on Saturday.