Madagascar prosecutors said Thursday they thwarted an attempt to assassinate President Andry Rajoelina and arrested several people.
“Several foreign nationals and Malagasy were arrested on Tuesday, July 20, as part of an investigation into the state security crackdown,” prosecutor Berthine Razafiarivony said in a statement released overnight.
There was a “plan to eradicate and undermine various Malagasy personalities, including the head of state,” Razafiarivony said
“At this stage of the investigation, which is ongoing, the attorney general’s office is making sure that we provide clarification on this case,” he added.
Two French nationals are among those arrested Tuesday, diplomatic sources told AFP.
The two suspects are retired army officers, according to Taratra, a news agency of the communications ministry.
During the Independence Day celebrations on June 26, police announced that they had stopped the assassination attempt against his boss, General Richard Ravalomanana, who is also Rajoelina’s right hand.
Rajoelina, 47, took office first in March 2009 from Marc Ravalomanana with military support.
He won the final vote in December 2018, defeating his main rival and predecessor Ravalomanana in a fraud-ridden election.
The former French colony has had a long history of revolution and chaos since independence from France in the 1960s.
The island is known internationally for its unique wildlife and vanilla, but relies heavily on foreign aid. Nine out of ten people live on less than $ 2 a day.
The country has been in a state of calm since the Covid-19 disaster struck last year and its southern region is on the brink of starvation.