World Bulletin/News Desk
Madagascar's exiled former leader Marc Ravalomanana was detained on Monday after returning to the Indian Ocean island for the first time since he was deposed in a coup in 2009, local newspapers reported on their websites.
Ravalomanana, exiled to South Africa, had tried returning to Madagascar several times since 2009 but was prevented by the authorities who feared his return would bring further instability to the island which has a long history of coups.
Local newspapers Le Daily and Orange reported that teargas was fired outside Ravalomanana's house and that he was detained. Orange quoted an unnamed "source close to the gendarmerie" for its report.
There was a heavier than normal security presence in the capital, a Reuters witness said.
Madagascar is recovering from a crisis triggered by the coup five years ago, when donors withheld aid and investors fled, causing a contraction in the economy that had been attracting miners and other businesses. The World Bank and other donors restarted aid programmes after a peaceful election last year.
"I'm not coming to bring trouble but to bring peace and work for Madagascar's development," Ravalomanana had told reporters earlier in the day.
It was not immediately clear where Ravalomanana was being held or why he was detained. Officials could not immediately be reached by Reuters for comment.
Former president Andry Rajoelina, who overthrew Ravalomanana with the help of the army in March 2009, had previously warned Ravalomanana that he would be held to account for crimes committed during his final weeks in power.
Ravalomanana can still rally support. The candidate he backed in the December election secured 46.5 percent of the vote in the run-off, although the ballot was won by Rajoelina's candidate with 53.5 percent.
Rajoelina had accused Ravalomanana of ordering his presidential guard to shoot dead about 30 protesters in February 2009, when popular demonstrations against his increasingly autocratic leadership peaked.
President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, sworn into office in January after December's election, has been rebuilding ties with the World Bank and other donors and said he would encourage reconciliation on the island.Last Mod: 13 Ekim 2014, 17:23