Ravalomanana missing - son

2014-10-14 16:52
Marc Ravalomanana (File, AFP)

Marc Ravalomanana (File, AFP)

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Antananarivo - The whereabouts of former Madagascar president Marc Ravalomanana were unknown after he was seized by police shortly after his surprise return from exile, his family said on Tuesday.

"We are desperately worried about his safety," his son Tojo said in a statement, adding that the family had been denied access to give him medication and clothing.

Ravalomanana, who was ousted in a coup in 2009, was picked up by armed police at his home in the capital Antananarivo after addressing supporters on his return from South Africa on Monday.

The family have accused the authorities of kidnapping him and are appealing to the Southern African Development Community or the South African ambassador to intervene.

The South African government has not commented on his departure.

Madagascar's new President Henry Rajaonarimampianina said Ravalomanana was taken "for his safety" and had not been arrested.

"He has been taken to safety against all kinds of threats," said Rajaonarimampianina, who won December 2013 elections.

Madagascar has on several occasions blocked efforts by Ravalomanana to return home since he was ousted by Andry Rajoelina.

Hard labour

In 2012, a plane carrying Ravalomanana was turned back in mid-flight as he headed for the Indian Ocean island.

The 64-year-old was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment with hard labour in 2010 for the death of 30 opposition protesters killed by his presidential guard during the coup.

His special envoy in South Africa, Brian Currin described the detention as "reminiscent of the actions of the coup regime".

Two years ago, regional mediators charted a roadmap with Madagascar's main political parties calling for Ravalomanana and other exiles to be allowed to return unconditionally.

Political stability is slowly returning to the the country after Rajoelina relinquished power to the elected new president.

The international community had pressured Ravalomanana not to run in the elections to avoid fresh instability.

Read more on:    marc ravalomanana  |  madagascar  |  southern africa

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