Madagascar Mob Kills Two Tourists It Suspected of Harvesting Human Organs

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A mob in Madagascar burned two European men to death and lynched a local man—all three of whom protesters suspected were involved in trafficking the organs of a missing child.

Local police on the tourist island of Nosy Be told AFP news agency that a missing eight-year-old was found on the morning of Oct. 3, his genitals and tongue cut out. Residents of the island then went on a day-long rampage to hunt down his killers. The mob killed two Europeans, identified only so far as Sebastien and Roberto, and burned their bodies on a popular tourist beach. Some reports indicate the two Europeans were burned alive.

Nosy Be, an isle which lies off the northwest coast of Madagascar, has long been a tourist magnet, a bright spot for an otherwise dismal economy stifled by political strife. As Richard Hamilton, BBC News’ former correspondent in Madagascar explains, a coup in 2009 left a leadership vacuum, and incidents of mob justice have been exploited for political gain. Tensions in the country have risen ahead of elections scheduled for Oct. 25.

The French consulate discouraged its nationals from visiting Nosy Be and warned those already there to remain indoors “until order is restored, especially on the beaches.” Meanwhile, Malagasy leader Andry Rajoelina condemned the attacks as barbaric, and called on local security forces to take control and launch an investigation.