Roadside bomb targets Madagascar's president

Fri Mar 4, 2011 10:14am GMT
 

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina escaped unscathed when a bomb exploded by his car on Thursday evening, officials said.

Rajoelina's aide de camp, Lieutenant Colonel Fidimalala Rafaliarison, told reporters they heard a loud explosion by the vehicle at a point on the president's daily route home where his convoy usually slows down.

A senior officer said the convoy did not stop and there was no damage to the president's armour-plated vehicle.

He said a team returned to the scene soon after and discovered a wire about 150 metres long and some explosive material hidden in grass by the side of the road.

"Given the political context, it could be have been a political assassination attempt. It could be intimidation. In any case, investigations will show what really happened," said Prime Minister Camille Vital.

It is the second time Rajoelina's convoy has come under attack. A shot was fired at his car in December 2009.

A political crisis has dogged the world's fourth largest island since Rajoelina ousted incumbent Marc Ravalomanana with the help of dissident soldiers in 2009.

A roadmap to end the political crisis, backed by tahe Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other international mediators, recommended last month that Rajoelina be recognised as interim president until elections this year.

However, two exiled former presidents who head opposition groups have recently been refused permission to return home and the three main opposition movements remain opposed to the plan.

<p>Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina looks on before addressing his supporters in the capital Antananarivo, September 2, 2009. REUTERS/Richard Lough</p>
 
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