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Madagascar Arrests - 2002-04-10

An aide to Madagascar's President Didier Ratsiraka has died after his arrest by security forces loyal to opposition leader and self-proclaimed president Marc Ravalomanana.

Hospital officials say Gaby Rajaonarivelo died of head injuries received as he and two other men were arrested in a hotel in the capital, Antananarivo Tuesday. Mr. Rajaonarivelo was a body guard to one of President Ratsiraka's government ministers. Hospital officials say the other two men also were treated for injuries received during the arrest

Opposition officials say the three men were taken into custody for plotting to abduct Mr. Ravalomanana's appointed Prime Minister Jacques Sylla.

Madagascar has been in a state of political turmoil since December's presidential election, which Mr. Ravalomanana says he won outright. In late February, he declared himself head of state.

The international community has refused to recognize the takeover. President Ratsiraka says the dispute should be settled by a run-off vote.