Madagascar Police Say 3 Dead in Overnight Attacks

Three people were killed in overnight violence in the capital, Madagascar police said Sunday, blaming politicians linked to a government ousted by the military.

One unidentified man was killed and two others injured as they tried to plant a bomb near a government office overnight, Col. Richard Ravalomanana, in charge of security in Antananarivo, the capital, said at press conference. Ravalomanana said the others were security officers killed by gunfire in an attack on a television station owned by Andry Rajoelina, who claimed the presidency after the March coup.

In all, four military or government buildings and the TV station were targeted, the national police colonel said. He added 22 bombs had been found, but that police believed thousands had been assembled.

The attackers "want to create disorder so that the international community intervenes (on that pretext) that there is no peace and stability in Madagascar," Ravalomanana said.

He said "former high state officials are implicated — an ex-minister, an ex-member of parliament, an ex-ministerial secretary general, an ex-official in the finance ministry." He did not provide names.

He said security was being stepped up. But there was little sign of increased tension, and many in the capital had been unaware of any trouble before Ravalomanana's news conference Sunday afternoon.

Rajoelina, a former disc jockey and Antananarivo mayor, led a campaign of street protests that started last year and, with the military's help, culminated with President Marc Ravalomanana's ouster in March. Their struggle for power has meant months of violence and volatility on the impoverished Indian Ocean island off the southeastern coast of Africa.

African and Western nations have called Rajoelina's takeover a coup. The African Union and the Southern African Development Community have suspended Madagascar's membership. The U.S. has cut off all non-humanitarian aid.