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Clashes between Madagascar police, cattle rustlers kill 15

A farmer drives his zebu through a rice field on December 12, 2005 in Imurna, MadagascarClashes between armed bands of cattle rustlers and security forces have left 15 people dead in Madagascar including two paramilitary policemen, officials said Sunday. The village tradition of young Malagasy men stealing prized humped zebu cattle to prove their virility and valour took a bloody turn after two separate incidents in the south-east of the island nation. Known as dahalos, about 80 of these men, armed with hunting rifles, took off with 150 zebu in the village of Tranomaro early Sunday morning, said paramilitary police general Lumene Fidele Rasolofo. Then in another village called Mahaly, a second theft of 300 zebu led to a clash between nearly 100 armed men and six paramilitary police officers, two of whom were killed.

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