At least 32 people died in Madagascar in an area north of the capital on Friday after local thugs known as "dahalos" set houses on fire, Reuters reported, citing a defense ministry statement.
The arson occurred in the Ankazobe area, about 75 kilometers north of the capital, Antananarivo, on Friday night.
Dahalo are organized crime groups in parts of Madagascar that steal livestock from local residents and commit other crimes.
The Madagascar Ministry of Defense said that security forces were sent to the area to search for the perpetrators.
It is speculated that the attack on the area was likely revenge by the Dahalos on community members for providing information to security officials during previous operations against them.