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Madagascan opposition prime minister arrested
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17:47, April 30, 2009

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The prime minister appointed by former Madagascan president Marc Ravalomanana two weeks ago was arrested by the police late Wednesday evening together with seven others.

Manandafy Rakotonirina, 71, appointed by Ravalomanana on April16 as his prime minister, was arrested at a downtown hotel here for keeping arms illegally and his responsibility for the violent anti-government demonstrations in the last few weeks.

Ihanta Andriamandranto, leader of women branch of Ravalomanana' s supporters, two military generals and four others were also arrested at the five-star Carlton Hotel, media here reported on Thursday.

Andriamandranto is the wife of Ralitera Andrianandraina, security director of Madagascan High Constitutional Court who was arrest last Monday.

The police claimed that the couple were behind several bloody conflicts between the supporters of Ravalomanana and those of the transitional authority leader Andry Rajoelina.

The police found seven Kalashnikov rifles, two grenades, two pistols and a large amount of ammunition for various weapons at Andrianandraina's office and his residence.

The ex-ruling party, I Love Madagascar, confirmed the arrest of Rakotonirina.

In a communiqué issued late on Wednesday, the party said that the arrest would not mean the end of the current political crisis which began last December.

The arrest took place at the time when the African Union called all Madagascan stakeholders to Addis Ababa for a consultation to find a way out of the crisis.

Last Tuesday, Rakotonirina announced a list of seven minister sunder his government, including the ministers of defense, of foreign affairs, of decentralization and land reform, of finance and budget, of justice, of agriculture and that of internal affairs.

Source: Xinhua

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