In Madagascar, Cattle Theft Is Lucrative, Violent and Hard to Address

In Madagascar, Cattle Theft Is Lucrative, Violent and Hard to Address
Men dig for water in the dry Mandrare river bed, in Fenoaivo, Madagascar, Nov. 9, 2020 (AP photo by Laetitia Bezain).

At least 32 people were killed and several others injured on July 29 when bandits attacked the village of Ambolotarakely, about 50 miles north of Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo. According to law enforcement officials, the assailants rounded up the victims inside three houses before setting them on fire. The village has now been left deserted, after survivors fled amid fears of more attacks.

The attack has been blamed by security officials on cattle rustlers, known locally as dahalo, although that has yet to be proven. Earlier this week, authorities announced the arrest of five individuals suspected to have ties to the gang blamed for the attack, after army helicopters were deployed to locate the suspects and help ground troops search the area. Madagascar’s defense minister, Gen. Richard Rakotonirina, said that the assault was likely an act of revenge against community members for collaborating with security personnel during previous operations against the gang in question and other armed groups.

President Andry Rajoelina condemned the attack, vowing that the culprits would be punished. “We must find the perpetrators of this massacre and prosecute them according to existing law,” he said, adding that the Malagasy army will assume responsibility for securing local populations.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article as well as three free articles per month. You'll also receive our free email newsletter to stay up to date on all our coverage:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review