A French-Indian national abducted on May 14 outside a Muslim cemetery in the Ilafy neighborhood of the capital Antananarivo was reportedly released on Monday, June 5. The victim, the 26-year-old son of the owner of a major Malagasy conglomerate, appeared to be in good health. The family is believed to have paid a ransom for his release.
This was the fourth kidnapping of a French national in Madagascar since the beginning of the year; the French-Indian community has been the target of 90 kidnappings since 2010. In April 2017, armed men kidnapped a 16-year-old French high school student of Indian descent in the the Ambohibao neighborhood of Antananarivo; the student has since been released.
Kidnappings-for-ransom targeting business professionals of other ethnicities and nationalities are also relatively common. Foreign visitors to the country, including business travelers and expatriates, are also at-risk due to their perceived affluence.
Due to high crime rates and the risk of kidnapping (especially in urban and tourist centers such as Antananarivo, Tamatave, Majunga, Tulear, and Diego Suarez), individuals are advised to take the necessary precautions to minimize their risk of abduction: vary routes and schedules, be discreet regarding plans, avoid posting personal information on social networks (as it can be used by criminals to track targets), be particularly vigilant after dark, regularly review and update security standards at your residence, drive with windows closed and doors locked, etc. If you ever feel in danger, go directly to the nearest police station.