Three tales, just to outline just how fucked-up this country is when its police and army don't even focus on the right issues.
In the early dark on Sunday Sept., 12
A house in Itaosy was attacked. The house was fortified, but the bandits were armed with military-grade AK-47s. They managed to get through the outer metallic door and riddled the inner wooden door with bullets. Several minutes later, they were away with all of the family's money (10 million ariary, around five thousand american dollars).
During the attack, the owner's wife called the police for help. They were nearby, they should have been there in five minutes tops. In fact they even said they'd be there quick.
Twenty minutes later, when the metallic door gave up, there were still no news of the police so she called the gendarmes (military police) quartered further away. They, too, said they heard the shots from where they were and would be there soon.
The gendarmes arrived half an hour too late to do anything and, worse, they still arrived before the police did. One of the bullets used to demolish the inner door had struck the owner in the heart, killing him instantly. Two of the neighbors had been shot and severely wounded when the whole neighborhood tried to help repel the attack.
Today, the owner's wife went on live TV to accuse the police of having purposedly abandoned them.
Late morning on Monday Sept., 13
Under the pretense of "fighting against illegal trade," the gendarmes raided the market in Anosy, arresting all the milk vendors there and confiscating their whole stock — according to reports, at least a thousand gallons in all.
The vendors were eventually all released, but were said they couldn't get back their stock unless they paid some hefty fines. Meanwhile, the milk is being stored in non-refrigerated trucks, meaning that most of it will soon be spoiled beyond hope. And since none of the vendors reported to having enough money to pay the fines...
Last year, they destroyed the company that held a monopoly on milk, starting a period of severe lack of milk products available. Apparently now they're targetting the smaller producers too, just when milk was slowly getting back to availability. Way to go, guys.
Evening on Monday Sept., 13
Colonel Ravalomanana, who's in charge of the City of antananarivo's security, has announced that over 2,000 police officers and members of the gendarmerie had been deployed... to investigate rumors of a possible plot to start another coup. The suspected group is ten persons large at best.
Priorities, people, priorities. Theoretical, hypothetical, rumored coup plot first, arresting people at random second, protecting people from viciously armed robbers last (assuming, of course, that these were robbers to begin with. Military efficiency and military-grade weapons, combined with a lack of believable response from the authorities during the attack? Anyone has made the leap of logic here?)