Five charged in Madagascar over murder of French pair
This file photo taken on August 22, 2016 shows tourists taking pictures at sunset by a cordoned section of a beach where two French citizens were found dead, on August 21, 2016 on Sainte Marie Island off the northeast coast of Madagascar. (Sarah Tétaud/AFP)
(AFP) - Five people were charged and remanded in custody Monday over the murder in August of two young French volunteers on an island off Madagascar, a police official told AFP.
"Five people, including a French national, were charged with murder. Four other suspects have been released," said Elien Rajaonson, who heads the police criminal investigation division.
All nine of the original suspects were brought before a judge on Monday in Tamatave, the capital of the island of Sainte Marie.
On August 21, the bodies of the two French citizens, a man and a woman in their 20s, were found on a beach of the island of Sainte Marie with head injuries.
They had been volunteering at Cetamada, a local environmental non-profit organisation working to protect ocean mammals.
Among those remanded in custody in connection with the crime was the French boyfriend of one of the victims, who lived on the island.
According to authorities on Sainte Marie, an island famous for eco-tourism, it is the first time French citizens have been murdered there.
In 2012, a French couple was found dead on a beach in southern Madagascar.
A year later two Europeans, suspected of involvement in the death of an eight-year-old local boy, were attacked and killed by a mob on the northwest island of Nosy Be.
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