Three European men were burned to death on Nosy Be, an island located off the northwest coast of Madagascar.
According to the Daily Mail, Madagascar locals went on an angry rampage Wednesday after learning that two European men had kidnapped an 8-year-old boy, then cut off his tongue and genitals before killing him.
The third man was also interrogated on his involvement in the kidnapping, and was later set ablaze in a separate attack.
The mob originally invaded a police station in Hell-Ville, Nosy Be’s capital, where it thought the suspected murderers might be held. According to the Daily Mail, police fired gunshots into the air, but it was not enough to calm the angry crowd.
Police commander Guy Bobin Randriamaro said the two European men were chased and cornered on the Ambatoloaka beach, where they were finally attacked.
“The rioters launched a manhunt and killed the Europeans,” said Randriamaro. “Both men were not only suspected of murdering the boys, but were also said to be trafficking human organs.”
The mob reportedly went on to torch eight houses, and then began to attack police.
According to a Frenchman living on Nosy Be, the two men were made “scapegoats” for a murder they were not involved in. Up to 4,000 Madagascans witnessed the lynching of the two men, he added.
Witnesses allegedly saw the third man being dragged to his car and then set on fire by the angry mob. He had reportedly been questioned Wednesday along with the other two men. His name and nationality were not known, but he was known to be European.
The young boy’s mutilated body was reportedly discovered this morning.
According to Madagascar residents, human organs are often “stolen” for use by cults or for witchcraft ceremonies, and it is common for residents to blame outsiders for this practice. The practice of mob justice is apparently common for the area, added the Daily Mail.
Police are still investigating the exact circumstances of the killings. Because Nosy Be is a popular tourist destination, authorities are warning island locals and visitors to be “especially careful.”
Source: Daily Mail