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In the southern regions of Madagascar, the population are facing the threat of zebu thefts on a daily basis, acts perpetrated by young people called ? dahalo ? or ? malaso ?.

This ancestral tradition, or rather this "regional sport", as some label it, a way for some to display their virility, was once considered a minor crime by the authorities. But for more than a year now, zebu theft has become an affair of State, since the dahalo started operating in groups, equipped with assault weapons, military trained and not shy to resorting to killing to get to their ends.

In 2012, the Remenabila event marked the spirits. Remenabila is a dahalo having 200 to 300 wrongdoers at his command, perpetrators of thousands of zebus thefts, as well as of the murder of 12 military men in Iabohazo in June 2012.

This event triggered a military operation of a vast scale, the Tandroka operation, put up in order to bring back the law and order, and to have Remenabila captured "dead or alive". This operation will swiftly be condemned by the international observers, because of its ruthless methods and exaction cases perpetrated by the military against rural populations.

By the beginning of the year, the army stated, though with little conviction, that Remenabila had been eliminated during an anti-dahalo operation.

Zebu thefts have not been ceased for all that, and worse, according to the authorities, they even escalated. People are talking about an heir to Remenabila, called Rekamainty. Between March and May 2014, more than a hundred deaths have been recorded, and thousands of villagers have become refugees, following dahalo attacks in the southern parts of Madagascar.

Between the 7th and 9th May, the villages of Andranondambo and Ambatotsivala, in the north of the region of South Amboasary, mutually blame one another for the zebu thefts, and enter in conflict, which results in 15 people?s death. A few days later, 150 military men, coming from Tana and Fort-Dauphin's gendarmerie forces, are sent to the region.

The mission of this military operation, called "Coup d'arr?t" remains similar to the late 2012 Tandroka operation: "pacify" and "secure" the Malagasy countryside in the western and southern parts of the country. In the South, the armed forces are concentrated in an area covering Betroka to Amboasary South, a very remote area, deprived of electricity or phone coverage. As the situation shows no signs of improvement, the army decided to send 90 more military men in early June, in order to pursue the operation until the end of June to the beginning of July 2014.

But then, people from the village of Besakoa, a 100 km north from Amboasary South started to voice the first accusations of intimidations and violence imposed by the military on them, and this in turn once again tarnished the State credibility in this new "zebu war".