Madagascar police detain ex-officials in attacks probe

Three top officials in the government of Madagascar’s ousted president Marc Ravalomanana wanted in connection with weekend attacks that left three dead have been detained, police said on Wednesday.

Jean-Marie Ramangason, the attorney general of the island’s transitional government, had announced on Tuesday arrest warrants against five people.

“Three of the five pretender’s supporters turned themselves in yesterday [Tuesday] to police,” said the capital’s police chief, Colonel Richard Ravalomanana.

“They are currently being held for questioning, but there are still individuals at large who are key people in this investigation,” he added.

Among the three is the ousted president’s party spokesperson Raharinaivo Andrianatoandro, he added.

Jean-Louis Rakotoamboa, an official of the movement against transitional leader Andry Rajoelina, has criticised the move, saying it was only meant to make criminals of the interim leader’s foes and undermine their peaceful campaign.

Rajoelina, backed by the army, toppled the president in March but has faced opposition from his rivals ever since.

On Monday he withdrew from talks aimed at resolving the country’s political crisis and condemned the weekend attacks as “acts of terrorism”.

One man was killed and two others injured early on Sunday when a bomb they were handling in a vehicle exploded, according to police.

In addition, two security guards were killed in an attack late on Saturday on private radio station Viva, which is owned by Rajoelina, police said.

They were killed “in cold blood” by assailants who were trying to plant a bomb inside the radio station, the police chief said.

The attackers fled without planting the explosive after an exchange of fire with soldiers stationed inside, he added.—Sapa-AFP

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