Madagascar reveals foiled plot to kill president

Officials say a foreigner and five others were arrested months after planned attempt became known

Madagascar on Thursday announced the arrest of six people, including a foreign citizen, on suspicion of plotting to kill the president.

Former coup leader Andry Rajoelina, 44, was sworn in as president of the Indian Ocean island country in 2019 after a hard-fought election and a constitutional court challenge from his rival.

"According to the evidence in our possession, these individuals had devised a plan for the elimination and neutralisation of a number of people, including the head of state," the attorney general said.

The attorney general said that investigations were under way and further details could not be disclosed. The arrests were made on Tuesday.

The extent of the plot, or how far advanced it was, was not immediately clear, nor did the official statement specify the nationality of the foreign suspect.

A statement issued by the public security minister said two other suspects had dual nationality, and three were Madagascan citizens.

"The police had information for several months, but only now was there an opportunity to arrest them," the statement read.

Mr Rajoelina seized power in the deeply impoverished former French colony in a March 2009 coup, ousting Marc Ravalomanana. He remained in control at the head of a transitional government until 2014.

Mr Ravalomanana challenged Mr Rajoelina in the 2019 elections and alleged fraud after losing.

Nine out of 10 Madagascar's 26 million people live on less than $2 a day. Climate change and deforestation have exacerbated the worst drought for four decades in the south of the island.

Updated: July 22nd 2021, 1:09 PM

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