At least ten people were killed on Sunday, August 16, in clashes between security forces and suspected cattle rustlers in the western Miandrivazo district. Around 50 gang members and some 60 national gendarmerie are reported to have been involved in the clashes in the Beteva area after a gendarmerie patrol was ambushed on Sunday, injuring two officers. Security forces responded to the attack, reportedly killing ten suspects and arresting 11 others, although it is currently unclear how many gang members escaped.
The incident came amid heightened security operations in the district following a number of recent cattle raids, including one in the Ampanihy area on Wednesday, August 12, in which a local official was killed.
Further security operations are likely in the district in the medium term.
Areas of southern and southwestern Madagascar have long faced a significant threat from livestock theft gangs, with dozens of people being killed in clashes between security forces and heavily bandits, as well as during robberies. Areas of the country where these gangs are active have been designated "zones rouges" (red zones), including Anosy, Androy, Ihorombe, Atsimo-Atsinanana, Atsimo-Adrefana, and Miandrivazo.
Those in the Miandrivazo district area advised to monitor developments and heed any directives issued by local authorities. Travel in Madagascar's red zones should be subject to a thorough localized threat assessment and undertaken with appropriate security and journey management procedures in place.
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