2006 Malagasy coup d'état attempt

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An alleged coup d'état attempt occurred in Madagascar on November 18, 2006, during the lead-up to the December 3 presidential election, when retired army General Andrianafidisoa, also known as Fidy (and a previous Director General of OMNIS), declared military rule.[1][2]

According to judicial authorities, Andrianafidisoa was not allowed to run for president after failing to pay a 25 million ariary (US$11,400) deposit.[3] Fidy had previously supported the incumbent President Marc Ravalomanana in his successful claim to the presidency in the wake of the disputed 2001 presidential election.[2]

Coup events[edit]

General Fidy declared military rule and set up a base near the Ivato Airport in the capital, Antananarivo. There were police reports of shooting early in the morning of November 18, and that one soldier was killed and another wounded. President Ravalomanana was returning from France during the incident and his plane was diverted from Antananarivo to Mahajanga instead.[4]

Aftermath[edit]

On November 19, 2006 the government said it was searching for General Fidy, and dozens of soldiers were stationed outside his house. Secretary of State for Public Security, Lucien Victor Razakanirina, told Reuters, "We issued a wanted poster for General Fidy for an attack on state security. We went to arrest General Fidy, but he was no longer at his house. He is very mobile." Fidy told Reuters via telephone, "I am alive and I am not in hiding. Soldiers and politicians have got the message." He would not disclose his location.[3]

In a radio interview on November 20, Fidy, who had still not been captured, said that the idea that there had been a coup attempt was a misinterpretation, but acknowledged that he had called for Ravalomanana's resignation because he considered the government to be unconstitutional.[2] On November 22, Fidy received the backing of most of the 14 presidential candidates, who said he was defending the constitution and the interests of the nation.[5][6] After the elections were held on December 3, the government unsuccessfully attempted to arrest one of these candidates, Pety Rakotoniaina,[7] although it denied that it sought to arrest him because of his support for Fidy.[8]

A $50,000 reward was offered for Fidy's arrest. Razakanirina said that Fidy was taken by surprise and captured on December 12 at a hotel, and that he did not resist.[9] During his trial, he and his lawyers argued that he had not attempted a coup, but had instead attempted to alert Ravalomanana to the situation of the armed forces. He was sentenced to four years in prison on February 2, 2007.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johnny Hogg (November 18, 2006). "Madagascar general urges overthrow". BBC News. Retrieved November 19, 2006. 
  2. ^ a b c "Attempted "coup" fizzles in desire for peaceful poll", IRIN, November 20, 2006.
  3. ^ a b Alain Iloniaina (November 19, 2006). "Madagascar hunts for renegade general after coup bid". Reuters. Retrieved November 19, 2006. 
  4. ^ "General attempts coup in Madagascar". United Press International. November 18, 2006. Retrieved November 19, 2006. 
  5. ^ "Support for Madagascar 'coup bid'", BBC News, November 23, 2006.
  6. ^ "Madagascar: 11 candidats de l'opposition jugent légitime l'action du général "Fidy"", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), November 22, 2006 (French).
  7. ^ Jonny Hogg, "Madagascar tries to jail opposition politician", The Independent, December 7, 2006.
  8. ^ "Madagascar Issues Arrest Warrant for Opposition Candidate", Voice of America, December 7, 2006.
  9. ^ Alain Iloniaina, "Madagascar captures renegade general "Fidy"", Reuters (IOL), December 13, 2006.
  10. ^ "Madagascar : Gen. Fidy sentenced to 4 years imprisonment Friday", African Press Agency, February 2, 2007.