The Analamanga Region is generally the final destination of zebus stolen from other regions. It is an oiled network that necessarily involves both field dahalo and white-collar dahalo.
Once the Dahalo set out with a herd of zebus after an attack, they leave nothing at random, since the security forces, the robbed owners and the fokonolona (community) are all after them. From the path they must take to the place where they will park the animals while waiting for them to be cleaned, through possible backup, lookouts and weapons, everything is prepared. When the zebus arrive at the slaughterhouses of Anosizato or Akadindratombo, they are bleached, clean and provided with individual bovine cards (Fiches Individuelles de Bovidé – FIB).
“The phenomenon of Dahalo will stop only when the “Dahalo ambony latabatra” will be removed from harm’s way. We ask the state to do this”Naivo Ramaroson
All this requires a network of complicity at all levels, in the field but also in the offices, the famous “Dahalo ambony latabatra”, the white collar bandits. “The phenomenon of Dahalo will stop only when the “Dahalo ambony latabatra” will be removed from harm’s way. We ask the state to do this,” Naivo Ramaroson, a zebu breeder from Anjorozobe, said. He has seen and witnessed the effectiveness of these networks of criminals during a pursuit with the forces of order, after Dahalo have come to capture his cattle.
The story of a Dahalo victim
Naivo Ramaroson tells us that the tracks left by the herd led them to Beravotavo, in the commune of Amparafaravola, Alaotra Mangoro region, after several days of walking. “It is a hardly inhabited area, with only a few houses that seem to belong to farmers. But they could also shelter lookouts who collaborate with the Dahalo and who could inform them of our arrival. It was evident : just a few hours later, heavily armed and nervous men blocked the road and refused to let us continue to follow the tracks that would certainly lead to the park or “Vala” where the stolen zebus were certainly kept. (…) “We were about forty men in total, equally armed and equipped with guns, swords and slingshots for some, but our weapons were no match for the arsenal of warfare available to the Dahalo. We preferred to leave by taking another route,” our interlocutor recounts with despair. “No doubt that our herds were still there, otherwise these men would not have been so nervous, so determined,” he continues. “The Dahalo troop is composed of at least a hundred men, with a well organized hierarchy.”
FIB delivery at the heart of a mafia network
The regions and communes are often pointed to by herders and dispossessed owners as being the most involved in the network of laundering stolen zebus. According to the law, they are the only entities that can purchase and withdraw the Individual Bovine Forms (FIB) from the national printing office. This is a competence conflict that can potentially benefit traffickers. Indeed, when forces of law and order manage to get their hands on stolen zebus, it is authentic FIBs that are used. Logically, only officials with access to them can provide them.
This competence conflict between the municipality and the region arose from a textual problem. It is therefore possible that the mafia network has already infiltrated the legislative system. That is why the Ministry of the Interior and the National Printing Office have decided to put an end to it. From now on, only the municipalities will be able to order FIBs. “Moreover, the taxes generated by FIBs go directly and solely to the communes. There are none for the regions,” Andry Nirina Rajaofetra, Director General of the National Printing Office, explains.
The inhabitants of Antananarivo have the highest consumption of bleached zebu meat
The testimony of a senior official who requested anonymity supports the small breeder’s analysis from Anjozorobe. When the zebus arrive in Antananarivo, they already have papers such as FIBs and passports that are perfectly in order. These papers are made by mafia networks to which belong the commanders who assign missions to the Dahalo. Those who go out on the ground are mere executors. “They are very clever because the zebus arriving on the market are already laundered and it is therefore on the butcher’s stalls that the laundering process ends, which is why there are very few statistics on the real situation of zebu trafficking,” he says. This is why, compared to other regions, the extent of trafficking in Analamanga represents barely 2% since the actual laundering operation does not take place in this region. On the other hand, the Analamanga region has the largest number of middlemen. Most of the meat from stolen zebus ends up in the pans of Antananarivo inhabitants, who are the largest consumers of meat in Madagascar.
“Since we have been carrying out this control, we have never discovered false documents,” they say at the Alasora gendarmerie. The same is true for the police forces in charge of Ampasika and for Samuel Rakotondrafara, the veterinarian in charge of health and meat quality control. ” The operators who bring their animals to be slaughtered here would never dare to use false documents since they risk legal proceedings and can lose a lot of money “, Milson, in charge of the slaughterhouse, points out before concluding that ” either the stolen zebus are slaughtered elsewhere or the animals that arrive at the slaughterhouse are already cleaned “. It can be concluded, therefore, that the operation of laundering and making of real false documents takes place upstream. The authorities who act upstream of this chain are identifiable since they are the ones who sign and put the Republic’s seals on the FIBs, i.e. the administrative delegates, the veterinarians who are in charge of the sanitary follow-up of the livestock, the local authorities, etc.
But it is true that in some regions, as was the case in Itasy Region in September 2020, the forces of law and order had already been able to get their hands on falsified stamps. It is therefore not impossible that the Dahalo have learned to make false signatures and use false stamps.