At least 19 people were killed and 21 others injured after police in Madagascar’s south-eastern town of Ikongo opened fire on a group of people who were angered by the kidnapping of a child with albinism.
Those injured in the Monday incident are receiving treatment at the local hospital, the police said.
Some 500 people armed with machetes allegedly attempted to force their way into a police station where four kidnapping suspects were being held, the AFP news agency reports.
The head of the police, Andry Rakotondrazaka, defended the police’s actions saying they resorted to self defence after trying to avoid the confrontation.
An investigating has however been opened.
The kidnapped child’s fate is unclear but officials said the mother was killed by “bandits”.
People with albinism have been targeted in some African countries because of false beliefs that their body parts can bring luck and wealth.