Madagascar tries to jail opposition politician

By Jonny Hogg in Antananarivo

Published: 08 December 2006

Madagascan government forces have tried to arrest an opposition leader who supported a recent, failed military coup as the country went to the polls.

Troops surrounded the offices and home of Pety Rakotoniaina yesterday but failed to arrest him, the Minister for Public Security said.

Mr Rakotoniaina, who is believed to have gone into hiding, was one of eight candidates who supported General Randrianafidisoa, known as General Fidy, who called for a military overthrow of the government two weeks ahead of the elections.

The incumbent, President Marc Ravalomanana, a charismatic dairy tycoon known as "The Milkman," looked set to return to power. Official results are not expected for at least another week.

The government is offering a reward of $50,000 (£26,000) for information leading to the arrest of General Fidy, who has been on the run since his coup failed to win popular support.

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