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CRIME

Two French volunteers ‘murdered off Madagascar’

Two young French volunteers found dead Sunday on an island off the northeast coast of Madagascar were likely murdered, French and Madagascan authorities said.

Two French volunteers 'murdered off Madagascar'
Sainte-Marie island, where the bodies were found. Photo: AFP

Local mayor Bessaou Ismak Ado Crophe on the resort island of Sainte Marie told AFP that the bodies of both victims, a man and a woman in their twenties, showed signs of head trauma, with officials suspecting murder.

“They spent the evening in a nightclub and were found on the beach nearby,” he said. “I saw the bodies. Both had injuries to the head.”

The two had in recent months been volunteering at Cetamada, a local environmental non-profit organization working to protect ocean mammals. The French foreign ministry in a statement condemned the “odious crime that claimed the lives of two French nationals”.  It offered its condolences to the families and said an investigation was under way in Madagascar.

Madagascan Tourism Minister Roland Ratsiraka said he had spoken to the French ambassador to the Indian Ocean island and that the consul would be visiting Sainte Marie on Monday.

“The government strongly condemns this act and will ensure that the investigation will be transparent,” he said.

Cetamada vice-president Jean-Jacques Ravello, who is also France's honorary consul to Sainte Marie island, called the incident “barbaric”.

“I do not want to minimise this barbaric act, but we've been bringing dozens of volunteers here for 15 years and we've never had a problem this big,” he told AFP.

Ravello said fellow volunteers had gathered together following the incident and were “shocked psychologically”.

In 2012, a French couple was found dead on a beach in southern Madagascar. A year later, two Europeans were attacked and killed by a mob on the northwest island of Nosy Be, suspected of involvement in the death of an eight-year-old local boy.

CRIME

French tax agent ‘kidnapped and killed while conducting an audit’

A French tax inspector was kidnapped and killed, reportedly while carrying out a tax audit in a village in northern France on Monday evening.

French tax agent 'kidnapped and killed while conducting an audit'

The 43-year-old tax agent died on Monday night in northern France, with local media Actu Pas-de-Calais reporting that he was killed by the man whom he was auditing, who later died by suicide.

Emergency services were called to the small village of Bullecourt in the Pas-de-Calais département of northern France at around 8pm. Upon arriving they found two men dead and a woman, reported to be another employee of the tax office, tied up.

She was not believed to be seriously injured but was treated for shock. 

The public prosecutor released a statement saying that both tax agents “were carrying out an at-home audit to check the accounts” of the local man reported to be a brocanteur (antique dealer), who then “kidnapped them and tied them up.” 

“The accused then killed himself with a firearm,” according to the prosecutor’s office. 

The mayor of Bullecourt, a small village of 250 inhabitants, told AFP that he remembered the accused antique dealer as a “helpful” and “ordinary person” who had “integrated into the village.”

Gabriel Attal, the Public Accounts Minister, issued a statement on Monday evening expressing his condolences and saying that the tax agent “was simply doing his job” and that “today, he did not return.” The minister lamented that the agent was “killed while completing a tax audit.”

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