, ANTANANARIVO, Jan 20 – Madagascar’s ousted leader Marc Ravalomanana will be arrested if he returns home this weekend after three years in exile, a general told AFP on Friday.
“The arrest warrant will be executed. It’s a court decision, we cannot allow it not to be executed,” said General Richard Ravalomanana, head of security for the province that includes the capital Antananarivo.
“There will be an arrest operation, which will depend on the situation, as well as crowd control measures because there has been a call to rally,” he said.
“There’s nothing to fear, the airport has been secured. He can be arrested far from the crowd,” he added.
“There is a risk of clashes,” the general said, adding however that the risk would be mitigated because the airport is far from the main commercial centres where crowds could more easily gather.
“We expect diversions in the city, with the intention of looting, so we will also deploy forces in the city.”
Marc Ravalomanana was driven from power nearly three years ago by the island’s current leader Andry Rajoelina, but he says he will return home on Saturday, ending his exile in South Africa.
He has been convicted on charges of allowing his presidential guard to open fire on protesters in February 2009. He was sentenced in absentia to life in prison and hard labour.
Ravalomanana told reporters Friday that he was confident Rajoelina did not have the authority to carry out the threat.
“Any attempt to arrest me will be unlawful,” he said.
“I have not committed any of the crimes of which I am accused by the illegal regime. You cannot legalise an unlawful and unfair legal process.”