Suspected bomb-maker killed in Madagascar blast: police

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 16, 2013 12:16 PM
Suspected bomb-maker killed in Madagascar blast: police

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - A suspected bomb-maker was killed in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo on Monday when an explosive device he is believed to have been building blew up prematurely, police said.

The former French colony has been mired in turmoil since President Andry Rajoelina seized power with military support in 2009. The island's tourism industry has suffered badly, and foreign companies have been wary of committing to investment in its oil, gold, chrome and nickel reserves.

A long-awaited election has been delayed three times this year in a dispute over who can run.

Madagascar's security services are exploring a link between Monday's blast and two other small explosions in the city earlier this month.

"The components of today's device and those behind the other explosions are identical," Antananarivo police chief Germain Ratsirombahina told Reuters. He said other home-made bombs, grenades and an automatic rifle were found in the house where Monday's blast occurred.

No one was hurt in the explosions in Antananarivo earlier in the month, and no significant damage caused. A previously unknown group calling itself Defenders of the Nation's Sovereignty had said it was behind the first blast this month, outside a hotel on September 5.

In an email received by several embassies at the time, the group said it would not accept foreign powers trying to dictate who could contest the vote now scheduled for October 25.

Rajoelina and the wife of Marc Ravalomanana, the man he ousted from power, were forced to withdraw their candidacies under pressure from the African Union, the South African Development Community and donors such as France and the European Union.

(Reporting by Alain Iloniaina; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Pravin Char)