, ANTANANARIVO, Apr 20 – Madagascar\’s deposed president Marc Ravalomanana on Tuesday denied charges he was involved in an alleged attack targeting the prime minister\’s office.
De facto authorities said Monday they had arrested 21 people over the incident planned for Sunday night, although some observers said the attack could have been staged.
"I firmly deny any involvement in an attempt to bring the political crisis to an end through undemocratic means. Any rumours suggesting otherwise are completely untrue," Ravalomanana said in a statement.
Ravalomanana was ousted in March 2009 by rival Andry Rajoelina who led weeks of street protest against the president and was later backed by the military to topple him.
Since then the vast Indian Ocean island has been mired in a political crisis that has seen the African Union slap sanctions on Rajoelina and scores of his backers for refusing to form a unity government.
The two men are to hold talks in South Africa, where Ravalomanana is exiled, in the coming days in a bid to seek a way out to the prolonged crisis.
There have been persistent rumours of a coup in recent weeks in the capital Antananarivo.