The President of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina has survived an assassination attempt on Tuesday (July 20), the country’s prosecutor general’s office said.
“Several foreign and Madagascar nationals were arrested on Tuesday, July 20, as part of an investigation into an attack on state security,” Prosecutor General of the Court of Appeal of Antananarivo Berthine Razafiarivony, said in a statement to the Press.
There was “a plan to eliminate and neutralise various Madagascan figures, including the head of state,” Razafiarivony said. “At this stage of the investigation, which is ongoing, the prosecutor-general’s office assures we will shed light in on this case,” she added.
A separate statement by the public security minister on Wednesday (July 21) said that six people had been arrested: one foreign national, two binationals, and three Madagascan nationals.
“The police had information for several months, but only now was there an opportunity to arrest them,” the statement read.
During the Indian Ocean island country’s Independence Day celebrations on June 26, the gendarmerie announced that they had foiled an assassination attempt on their boss who is also the president’s right-hand man, General Richard Ravalomanana.
Rajoelina, 47, was sworn in as president of the former French colony in 2019 after a hard-fought election beset by allegations of fraud and a constitutional court challenge from his main rival and predecessor Marc Ravalomanana.
Madagascar, with a population of 28,427,328, has had a long history of coups and unrest since gaining independence from France in 1960.
The world’s second-largest island country, after Indonesia, is internationally famed for its unique wildlife and vanilla but is heavily dependent on foreign aid. Nine out of 10 people live on less than $2 a day. The country has been under a lockdown since COVID-19 struck in 2020 and its southern region is in the grips of a famine. Last year, the GDP annual growth rate in Madagascar decreased to -4 percent from 5 percent in 2019.
In October, Rajoelina unveiled a locally developed herbal tonic made from the Artemisia plant that contains antimalarial properties, hailing it as a traditional cure for Covid-19. Could this be the reason he was assassinated?
“#Madagascar intends to change history through science. We are proud to inaugurate PHARMALAGASY, the first national pharmaceutical factory which aims to conquer the African continent through the manufacture of non-chemical herbal medicines,” the president said in a tweet.
Lately, a lot of assassination attempt’s take place. Earlier this month’s Haiti’s President was assassinated.
#Madagascar entend changer l’histoire par la science.
Nous sommes fiers d’inaugurer PHARMALAGASY, première usine pharmaceutique nationale qui ambitionne de conquérir le continent africain grace à la fabrication de médicaments non chimiques à base de plantes. pic.twitter.com/HCCh977A81
— Andry Rajoelina (@SE_Rajoelina) October 2, 2020
With reporting by AFP, Al Jazeera