Private jet of Madagascar's president deliberately damaged

15:10, April 30, 2011      

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The private jet carrying Madagascar's Highest Transitional Authority (HAT) President Andry Rajoelina and members of his delegation to Zambia which was forced to land on Thursday due to technical problems could have been sabotaged, according to a statement from the HAT.

The HAT president, his wife, President of the Transitional Council Randrianantoandro Raharinaivo and Foreign Minister Yvette Sylla boarded the jet at the Ivato Air Base in the capital Antananarivo on Thursday afternoon.

However, after about 20 minutes of flight, the private jet developed some technical problems and could not fly at the required altitude, the statement said.

The plane was forced to return to Ivato airport. Immediately after landing, a thorough examination of the internal parts of the plane was carried out.

At this point, it was discovered that the toilets of this private jet had been used and the person just entered the plane before the president and his delegation got on board.

"This situation made the pilots and the investigators conclude that there was technical sabotage," the statement said.

One of the pilots who was quoted in this statement said, "The reactors of this private jet could have exploded in the air had the plane been forced to fly at the required altitude."

Judicial investigations have been launched to determine the real circumstances of this act of sabotage.

It was also pointed out that an international engineer was called in to help carry out a technical examination of this jet.

Rajoelina later used an Emirates plane and landed in Zambia without problems.

Rajoelina's journey to Zambia is to lobby the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) presidents before the community's summit scheduled for May 20 in Namibia.

The summit is meant to discuss the roadmap proposed by SADC envoy Leonardo Simao. The roadmap was signed by some Madagascan parties in March.

Recently, Rajoelina met with Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Mozambican President Armondo Emilio Guebuza.

The roadmap was rejected by Madagascar's ex-presidents Didier Ratsiraka, Albert Zafy and Marc Ravalomanana, saying it was not inclusive enough.

Rajoelina on his part has insisted that this roadmap, which was signed by many Madagascan political parties, should not be changed.

Source: Xinhua
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