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Two suspects charged with Madagascar lynching


Two men from Madagascar were Thursday charged over last week's lynching of two Europeans accused of sexually abusing, killing and mutilating a young boy on a tourist island.

Eleven others are being charged for rioting and attacking police barracks the night before the pair -- a Frenchman and a Franco-Italian -- were mobbed by locals and burned on a beach ringed by bars and hotels on the island of Nosy Be.

"Of the 13 people that appeared before the judge, two are involved in the murder of two foreigners and the other 11 are involved in the attack on the barracks of the gendarmerie," police deputy commander Guy Bobin Randriamaro told a news conference.

An uncle of the eight-year-old boy was also killed by a rampaging mob hours after the foreigners were slain but it appears police are still hunting his murderers.

"At the moment, there are only two people arrested (for the murder of the foreigners), but there are still eight others whose identities are known and who are being pursued," said Randriamaro. "They are accused of premeditated murder."

The two murder suspects are not related to the boy whose body was found with his genitals missing and his intestines exposed, a week after he went missing.

In all 37 people were detained in connection with the violence on October 2 and 3, but 24 have already been freed.

For evidence to incriminate the two murder suspects, police said they will rely on "photos and videos", but did not state their source.

French police have opened a murder investigation into the death of the French national Sebastien Judalet, who was an employee of the Paris public transport company RATP, and a regular visitor to Madagascar.

Famous for its white pristine sandy beaches and turquoise waters, Nosy Be is Madagascar's main tourist magnet, but has been plagued by sex tourism.

A neighbourhood leader told AFP last week that the boy's body was wet when it was found, suggesting that he may have drowned.

Mob justice is common on the vast island nation off the southeastern African coast, which authorities struggle to police effectively. French police said it was launching its own probe.