At least 32 people were killed in Madagascar after local bandits set homes on fire, according to the African country's Defense Ministry, reported DW, quoting news agencies dpa and Reuters.
The killings took place in the Ankazobe district, about 75 kilometers (47 miles) north of the capital Antananarivo overnight into Friday.
"People here experienced a real tragedy … many lives were lost. 32 people died. It is a crime perpetrated by ruthless dahalo (bandits) who burned alive even women and children," Defense Minister General Richard Rakotonirina said in a video
posted on the ministry's Facebook page late on Saturday.
The "dahalo" are organized criminal gangs in parts of Madagascar. They steal cattle from community members and engage in other various forms of banditry.
What's the reason behind the attack?
Residents and criminal gangs in the island nation often engage in violence towards one another, often sparked by cattle theft.
Authorities said the attack on the area was likely an act of revenge against the community for collaborating with security forces during previous operations against them.
Police said they were looking for the perpetrators.
"We will hunt down those who committed this crime and their accomplices," Rakotonirina said.