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Madagascar officials said six individuals were arrested on Tuesday after uncovering a suspected assassination plot against the president, Andry Rajoelina, and other high-profile figures.
The arrests included one French national, three Malagasy citizens (the native group of Madagascar), and two French-Malagasy dual citizens, according to a statement from public security minister Rodellys Fanomezantsoa Randrianarison, as reported by Al Jazeera.
"According to evidence in our possession, these individuals devised a plan to eliminate and neutralise various Madagascan figures, including the head of state," said prosecutor Berthine Razafiarivony in a statement translated by France 24.
A policeman told the news outlet the plot had been known by police for weeks or even months. In a "spectacular" arrest, the French national was arrested while waiting in an airport lounge to return to France.
Also arrested were two former French soldiers, including a "special forces officer," according to Patrick Rajoelina, a special diplomatic adviser to the president, who told France 24 a search of the suspects' houses uncovered incriminating emails, messages, and a large amount of money.
Patrick Rajoelina also said the government has not discovered the plotters' motives but stressed the affair was an internal matter. As a result, authorities will not be working with French officials in the investigation.
Andry Rajoelina, 47, seized power in a military coup in March 2009, holding on to power ever since. He recently won the 2018 presidential election, although critics claim the election was rife with fraud, according to Newsweek.
The latest assassination attempt is the third high-profile assassination plot of a head of state in just this month, with the unsuccessful attempt on the president of Mali and the successful attempt on the president of Haiti.
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Original Author: Brady Knox
Original Location: Madagascar says assassination plot against president foiled