French citizen amongst six held over plan to kill Madagascar president -minister By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina attends a meeting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, July 15, 2021 to discuss the 20th replenishment of the World Bank’s International Association for Development. REUTERS / Luc Gnago

From Lovasoa Rabary

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) – A French national is among six people arrested on suspicion of involvement in a plot to assassinate the President of Madagascar, the Indian Ocean Island Public Security Minister said, and a second official said that The president’s security has been tightened.

“One of those arrested is French, two of them are binational – Malagasy and French. The other three are Malagasy,” Rodelly’s Fanomezantsoa Randrianarison said at a press conference late Thursday.

Madagascar’s attorney general said Thursday police arrested the six after a month-long investigation.

Patrick Rajoelina, an adviser to President Andry Rajoelina, told Reuters on Friday that two of those arrested had previously worked in the French military.

The French Foreign Ministry said it had been informed of the arrest of French nationals and could get consular help if it asked.

A spokesman for the French armed forces told Reuters that he had no comment.

Patrick Rajoelina added that unspecified measures had been taken to increase the president’s security. “The evidence is there and we certainly don’t take it lightly,” he said.

Madagascar has a history of political violence and instability. Andry Rajoelina, 44, was sworn in as president in 2019 after a highly competitive election and a constitutional challenge to his rival.

Rajoelina first took power in the deeply impoverished former French colony of 26 million people in a coup in March 2009 and removed Marc Ravalomanana. He remained at the head of a transitional government until 2014.

In the 2019 election, Ravalomanana challenged Rajoelina, lost, saying the vote was fraudulent.

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