The Madagascan prosecutor’s office announced that it had foiled an assassination attempt on the President of the Republic of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, and arrested several people “Foreign and Malagasy”. Among these arrested people are two French, according to diplomatic sources.
“Several foreign and Malagasy nationals were arrested Tuesday as part of an investigation for endangering state security”, declared, Wednesday evening, the Attorney General, Berthine Razafiarivony. “According to the material evidence in our possession, these individuals have devised a plan to eliminate and neutralize various Malagasy personalities, including the head of state”, specified the prosecutor, without any other precision neither on the scaffolded plan nor on the circumstances of these arrests.
Public Security Minister Fanomezantsoa Rodellys Randrianarison said on Thursday six people had been arrested – “One foreigner, two binationals and three Malagasy” – and “The police had information on this case for several months”. “Weapons and money were seized” during simultaneous arrests, “But in different places”, as well as “Official documents that prove their involvement”, he insisted. “The foreigner, he added without identifying it, has hidden behind its economic activity its unhealthy projects ”, he accused.
The opposition condemned “Any assassination attempt, whether against the leaders or against anyone”reacted Rivo Rakotovao, former interim president of the country, interviewed by Agence France-Presse (AFP). “We should not take advantage of this situation to undermine democracy in Madagascar”, he immediately warned whereas the current president has the stranglehold on all the political levers and is the object of criticism concerning in particular the freedom of the press.
On the identity of the two French arrested, whose wives were also placed in police custody, they would be former officers. The French foreign ministry confirmed to AFP that it was “Informed” of their arrest, but declined to say more.
According to the file of companies in Madagascar, Philippe F. runs an investment and advisory company for international investors in Madagascar. This former colonel of the French army would have settled on the island in early 2020, according to several sources.
Paul R., a Franco-Malagasy, knows President Rajoelina well, of whom he was a diplomatic adviser until 2011. He presents himself on the Internet as an adviser to the archdiocese of Antananarivo who has distanced himself, claiming not to not to be “Responsible for people using [s]we name without an express mandate ”. Born in 1963, he was a captain when he left the gendarmerie in 1994, according to a source within the French gendarmerie.
At the end of June, an assassination attempt on the Secretary of State in charge of the gendarmerie and right-hand man of the Madagascan president, General Richard Ravalomanana, had already been announced.
Pressure, intimidation and threats
One of the poorest countries in the world, Madagascar has experienced many serious political crises for twenty years. The big island has been almost locked since the Covid-19 pandemic, and famine is raging in a region in the south of the country.
In 2009, President Marc Ravalomanana, released by the army, was forced to transfer full powers to a military board, which handed them over to Andry Rajoelina. The international community denounced a ” Rebellion “. After many other episodes, justice validated in January 2019 the victory of Mr. Rajoelina in the presidential election.
Nicknamed “TGV” for his go-getter side, this boss of advertising companies, until then known mainly as an organizer of parties, appeared in politics in 2007 by winning the mayoralty of Antananarivo. He secured sole control over all political levers in December, winning the senatorial elections, shunned by the opposition.
Pressures, intimidation and threats have increased in recent months against journalists, especially around the pandemic and the current famine in the South, denounced Reporters Without Borders (RSF).