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Madagascar police shoot dead 14 people protesting kidnapping of albino child

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Cops shoot 14 dead and injure 28 in Madagascar as they open fire on crowd trying to break into police station to kill four men accused of kidnapping an albino child

  • A mob of 500 angry villagers descended on Ikongo . police station
  • They demanded that officers hand over the four alleged kidnappers
  • When they refused to retreat, the police opened fire, killing 14 people

Police in Madagascar have shot and injured at least 14 people and injured 28 others after they opened fire on a crowd of protesters angry over the kidnapping of an albino child.

A mob of about 500 angry villagers armed with machetes and knives descended on the local police station in Ikongo, calling for the release of the four suspects arrested yesterday so they could be dealt with by the mob.

The protesters “then tried to break into the station,” a police officer told AFP.

A mob of about 500 angry villagers armed with machetes and knives descended on the local police station in Ikongo

“There were negotiations, the villagers insisted,” the officer said on the phone, as police fired smoke grenades and shots into the air in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

“They kept pushing their way through… We had no choice but to defend ourselves,” the police officer said.

Local doctor Tango Oscar Toky said “nine people died on the spot” and another five died later in hospital.

Nine of the injured are in critical condition, he said.

“The gendarmes … fired at the crowd,” local lawmaker Jean-Brunelle Razafintsiandraofa in the southeastern city of Ikongo told AFP.

Some sub-Saharan African countries have faced a spate of attacks on people with albinism, whose body parts are sought for witchcraft in the mistaken belief that they bring good luck and wealth.

Due to superstition, their body parts can be sold for thousands of dollars and are often the target of ritual murders.

Some believe that having sex with an albino woman can also cure AIDS.

The kidnapping took place last week, according to Razafintsiandraofa, an MP for the Ikongo district, about 80 kilometers southeast of the capital Antananarivo.

Further details were not immediately available.

Madagascar, a large island country in the Indian Ocean, is one of the poorest in the world.

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