Madagascar: Former president plans return, risks arrest

NAIROBI, Kenya — The ousted former president of the island nation of Madagascar is planning to return from exile on Saturday, facing arrest upon landing.

Marc Ravalomanana tried to return last February, but didn't make it past airport security in South Africa — his exiled home — because the new president Andry Rajoelina ordered that any plane with his opponent on board would be refused permission to land.

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"It is with great pleasure and carrying the hopes and aspirations of all Malagasy for a return to peace and freedom in our beloved country that I announce, once again, that I will return to Madagascar tomorrow," Ravalomanana told a press conference in Johannesburg.

After the 2009 coup that brought Rajoelina to power, Ravalomanana was tried in absentia, charged with the killing of protestors and sentenced to life in prison.

Relations between the two men have not thawed, helping to keep Madagascar in a state of flux for the last three years. While Ravalomanana sounded confident that he would be able to return home a government spokesman insisted the ex-president "will be arrested" on arrival.

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