With seven more arrests on Sunday, the Madagascar police have now made 26 arrests over the lynching of two Europeans and one local by a violent mob on Thursday in the popular tourist location of Nosy Be.
By Sunday the situation in the region was reported to be calm. Though locals went about their work and tourists strolled in town and the beach, security forces continued to patrol the streets.
Meanwhile, a district official gave the names of the lynching victims as Sebastien Judalet, a French national, who is said to have been a frequent visitor to Madagascar.
Another victim was Roberto Gianfala, a Franco-Italian. Authorities said he had an expired Madagascan visa.
Confirming the death of its nationals, both France and Italy have urged their citizens in Nosy Be, to be alert and to avoid venturing out at night.
The mob violence on Thursday began after the body of an eight-year-old local boy was found on the Ambatoloaka beach, a week after he went missing. Reports say his genitals and tongue were missing.
As the word spread, locals gathered and stormed the local police station assuming that one of the boy's killers had been nabbed. As tensions rose, police personnel opened fire, and two people were killed. The mob then went on a rampage, blocking roads and setting houses on fire.
With rumours going around that foreigners were involved with the murder of the boy, a mob chased the two victims, lynched them and then burned them. The mob accused the two men of being pedophiles.
Reports say that the mob claimed they made sure the two men were guilty of killing the boy.
"They spoke for a long time until the morning hours, and then the foreigners confessed they had killed the child. We have it on video," remarked Lala, a local who lives in the Dar-es-Salam suburb where the local man was killed.
However, media reports say one of the victims was heard declaring his innocence in an audio recording.
According to records, Nosy Be is notorious for child sex tourism involving Europeans, particularly French and Italian nationals. The cases of these have increased during the past year.
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