A previous report reported 11 dead victims.
The medical director of the local hospital, Dr. Tango Oscar Toky, confirmed that 19 people have died. In the morning the hospital teams were still waiting for the arrival of the injured who had to be evacuated, added the doctor, who described serious injuries. “Is a mistake? From an overflow? We have to decide between responsibilities, “said Defense Minister General Richard Rakotonirina, who went there on Tuesday. He promised” the necessary sanctions “.
Since last week the municipality of Ikongo, in an isolated mountainous region about 350 km from the capital Antananarivo, has been in shock: an albino child has disappeared and the authorities suspect a kidnapping. After the disappearance of the child, four suspects were arrested by gendarmes and placed in detention in the Ikongo barracks.
“We could have avoided it”
But the angry residents wanted to take over the law. They went to the gendarmerie barracks on Monday and demanded that the suspects be handed over to them, said Jean Brunelle Razafintsiandraofa, deputy district officer. According to a source from the gendarmerie present on the spot, at least 500 people would have arrived, some of them armed with “blade weapons” and “machetes”.
The gendarmes claim they first used tear gas and fired warning shots. “But, as a last resort”, “they had no choice but to resort to self-defense,” explained the commander. “It’s a very sad event and we could have avoided it, but what happened happened,” he said.
They “fired on the crowd”, for his part the deputy was indignant who indicated that he wanted to ask for a parliamentary inquiry.
According to the Minister of Defense, the gendarmes have deserted the barracks following the clashes to go “to retire to their families to protect themselves”, fearing a new outburst of anger in retaliation for the killing. Taking advantage of the confusion, “the detainees fled the nearby Ikongo prison,” according to a source from the Defense Ministry, who did not provide more details.
In 2017, 120 inmates from the same prison managed to disguise themselves, taking advantage of an attack by a crowd who wanted to lynch an inmate. The phenomena of popular revenge are frequent in Madagascar.