At least eleven people have been killed and 18 seriously injured after police in Madagascar opened fire on demonstrators protesting the abduction of an albino child and the murder of his mother.
The protest took place in the Ikongo district of southeastern Madagascar, with demonstrators demanding that authorities hand over the four people suspected of the double crime.
Police chief Andry Rakotondrazaka explained at a press conference that the officers did “everything possible” to “avoid a confrontation”, but were forced to open fire as soon as the demonstrators tried to break into a police station with guns.
“We could do nothing but protect ourselves and the premises,” Rakotondrazaka has justified.
A senior Ikongo district official, Jean Brunelle Razafintsiandraofa, has instead alleged that the Police fired without the demonstrators being armed, thus downplaying the danger they posed.
The Malagasy president, Andry Rajoelina, has expressed his condolences and called for calm in a Facebook message. He has promised that the authorities will investigate what happened.
The albino population are particularly vulnerable in some African countries because of the superstitions and beliefs that still prevail over them today. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported in March more than a dozen attacks on people with albinism in the last two years in Madagascar.