Madagascar cattle rustlers in deadly clashes

2016-02-02 21:31

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Antananarivo - Thirteen people were killed as Madagascar police and villagers clashed with armed cattle rustlers on Tuesday near Isalo national park in the southwest of the country, police said.

"Twelve poachers lost their lives during a clash with members of the armed police force backed by villagers near Isalo," police spokesperson Herilalatiana Andrianarisaona told AFP.

"A villager was also killed and five others injured," he added.

The fighting broke out after some 400 zebu cattle, used for dairy and beef, were stolen at night from Antanamaro village, according to police.

"Around two in the morning [23:00 GMT Monday], 40 to 50 dahalos [cattle rustlers], armed with kalashnikovs and hunting rifles, attacked Antanamaro village and stole 400 zebus", said Andrianarisaona, adding that the thieves had torched five houses during the attack.

After the attackers left the alert was sounded and police and villagers set off in pursuit.

Cattle rustling in Madagascar, once just a rite of passage for young men, has become a bloody business in the Indian Ocean island.

Last year such clashes cost at least 161 lives.

Read more on:    madagascar  |  animals  |  southern africa

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