On returning from exile since 2009, the ex-president of Madagascar, Marc Ravalomanana, was arrested and has been detained in an unknown place.
Returning from exile since 2009
When Marc Ravalomanana, the ex-president of Madagascar, decided to come back to his country on Monday, 13th of October, he was arrested by special forces. He had not returned to Madagascar since he was ousted by his rivals in 2009; though he had made several attempts to do so, the authorities had discouraged the idea lest his return from exile would fuel political instability in the island.
Teargas released at the residence of Marc Ravalomanana after his detainment
He reached his home aboard a private plane on the night of Sunday. Security forces were seen outside of his house before he was arrested. Some sources related that he was seized by a group of people wearing balaclavas: an hour after he made his surprise visit, 40 armed special forces came to take him away.
It is also said that his own family does not have news as to where he is detained. As a result, his family and other supporters were in a state of confusion following the incident. The police therefore deemed it necessary to release teargas to disperse the angry people.
The arrest has received much media coverage on the local news channels ever since.
Arrest, or no arrest?
However, it has also been reported that Marc Ravalomanana was not arrested per say, but just taken to a place to ensure his safety; the location remains unknown.
The current president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, was quoted to have said: “Mr Marc Ravalomanana has not been arrested. He has not been imprisoned. He has been taken to safety against all kinds of threats”.
From Madagascar to Swaziland to South Africa
Marc Ravalomanana had been living in Pretoria, South Africa since 2009. He had first travelled to Swaziland in the same year, but finally settled in South Africa.
Human rights lawyer Brian Currin has spoken out against what he views as injustice. He described the arrest (or what appears to be an arrest) as being “a total disgrace and reminiscent of actions of the coup regime.”
“We’ve been trying since the beginning of this year to negotiate his return, which is entrenched in the roadmap,” Currin said.