Turkey puts Fethullah Gulen, 269 others on trial over coup bid.

Turkey on Monday opened the biggest trial yet over the failed July coup aimed at ousting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, trying 270 suspects including, in absentia, the alleged mastermind Fethullah Gulen.

The suspects, 152 of whom are in pre-trial detention, include ex high-ranking military officials like former Aegean Army Command Chief of Staff Major General Memduh Hakbilen, the state news agency Anadolu reported.

The “number one” suspect is US-based Islamic preacher Gulen who is charged with ordering the failed July 15 coup, an accusation he strongly denies.

Those on trial in the western city of Izmir face multiple charges including being a member of the “armed terror group”.

Turkey has repeatedly asked the United States to extradite Gulen, who has been living in exile there since 1999.

The previous administration of Barack Obama had insisted that a possibly slow legal process should take its course but Ankara is hoping for a more eager response to its extradition request from new President Donald Trump.

Other charges against the suspects include seeking to prevent parliament performing its duty as well as attempting to remove the constitutional order, the agency said.

The suspects face life imprisonment if convicted in a trial expected to take two months, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.

It said Izmir was believed to be one of the main plotting hubs of the coup with the Aegean city used as a “logistical base”.

A special courtroom was built to accommodate the size of the trial and security was tight ahead of the hearing.

Intensive security measures included a drone above the courthouse, bomb-sniffing dogs and commando units.

Previous trials have opened in Istanbul and smaller cases in other provinces in what is expected to be the largest legal process in the country’s history.

Some 43,000 people are under arrest ahead of trial in a large-scale crackdown within a state of emergency declared after the coup which remains in place.

In December, 29 police officers went on trial in Istanbul accused of failing to defend Erdogan while 62 rebel soldiers are being tried over claims they attempted to take over Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the night of July 15.


Source: AFP

Turkey Reinstates 6,000 Teachers Suspended After Coup – Ministry.

Turkish authorities have reinstated over 6,000 teachers suspended after the July failed coup accused of terror links, the education ministry said on Friday.


“6,007 personnel suspended over links to terrorist organisations have returned to their jobs,” the ministry said on Twitter.


Tens of thousands of teachers were suspended or sacked over links to Kurdish militants and coup plotters since July 15 when a rogue faction tried to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power.

Turkey Frees 33,838 Prisoners To Make Room For Coup Detainees

Turkish authorities have released more than 30,000 prisoners, according to the country’s justice minister, after Ankara said it was releasing inmates to make space for tens of thousands detained over suspected links to a July coup attempt.

Turkey has said it would release a total of 38,000 prisoners as part of its penal reforms in the wake of the coup that tried to topple President Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on a news conference on Friday that the exact number of inmates released so far was 33,838.

In a series of messages posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Bozdag said the move was “not an amnesty”, and that convicts were not being pardoned but released on parole.

“The regulation refers to crimes committed before July 2016. The crimes committed after July 1, 2016, are outside its scope,” Bozdag said.

“As a result of this regulation, approximately 38,000 people will be released from closed and open prisons at the first stage.”

On Thursday, the government said it expelled nearly 43,000 people from their jobs in public institutions for alleged ties to banned organisations.

Lists of names and positions published by the official gazette on Thursday show the wide-scale purge Turkey has undertaken since the failed coup of July 15.

The government blamed the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for the plot that killed at least 270 people, and labels the network a terror organisation.

The dismissals are allowed through the state of emergency, declared following the coup attempt. The highest number of dismissals is from the Ministry of National Education with 28,163 people.

Some 35,000 people have been detained for questioning and more than 17,000 of those have been formally arrested to face trial, including soldiers, police, judges and journalists.

Turkish Citizens Protest In Nigeria As Erdogan Widens Coup Clampdown

Citizens of Turkey resident in Nigeria on Thursday protested in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, calling for support for President Tayyip Erdogan who survived a coup attempt on July 15.

The protest was organised by by two groups – Musiyad and Little Turkey Nigeria.

The protesters, about a hundred, embarked on a peaceful procession from the popular Abuja parade ground, near the magnificent International Conference Centre to the Turkish embassy located on Diplomatic Drive, near the Nigeria’s Ministry of Defence.

As they marched, the protesters waved Turkish flags and sang songs of solidarity in praise of President Erdogan.

As they arrived the embassy building, the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Hakan Cakil, was already waiting outside to receive them.

Mr. Cakil had on July 28 called on the Nigerian Government to close 17 Turkish schools in Nigeria for their alleged links with a movement his government says was involved in the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey.

According to the ambassador, investigations by the Turkish government showed that a movement led by US-based Fethullah Gulen was responsible for the failed coup attempt, which claimed over 200 lives. was in support of the Turkish president.

President Erdogan tightened his grip on Turkey, ordering the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions after the failed military coup.

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Turkey Failed Coup Of July 15 Cost Turkey Close To $100b

Bulent Tufenkci, Turkish Customs and Trade Minister, said on Tuesday in Istanbul that the failed coup of July 15 has cost Turkey at least 99.9 billion dollars in damages.

He said that the damages include destroyed buildings, military equipment, decline in orders abroad for goods and a drop in tourism. Tufenkci said it was so unfortunate that the coup plotters had tried to create an image that Turkey is a “third world country.

The minister said photos of tanks on the streets during the night of the putsch attempt were posted all over the city. He, however, also noted resilience in the local economy, including the quick reopening of the stock exchange.

“The lira has also recovered some of its loses. “During the peak of concern over the coup, the lira had dropped from about 2.87 to the dollar to 3.09. It is now trading at just below 3 to the dollar,’’ he said.

Tufenkci noted that the standard and poor rating by agencies downgraded Turkey after the coup, citing concerns not only over the economy itself but also checks and balances. The minister announced that Turkey is currently in the middle of a 90-day state of emergency.

Credit: Vanguard

Failed Coup: President Erdogan To Close 17 Turkish Schools In Nigeria

Ripples of July 15 botched coup in Turkey have berthed in Nigeria with the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Hakan Cakil, urging the Federal Government to shut  17 Turkish schools in Nigeria.


The ambassador, who made the call when the vice chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Shehu Sani, paid him a courtesy visit, said the Turkish Government had nothing to do with the schools.
The ambassador said investigations by the Turkish government showed that a movement led by US-based Fethullah Gulen was responsible for the failed coup attempt, which claimed over 200 lives. The movement is believed to have interest in the 17 schools in Nigeria.


He said the Turkish government was dissociating itself from any school bearing the country’s name in Nigeria, adding that while the country had schools in other countries, it had none in Nigeria.
“We are requesting the Nigerian Government to close down the schools. I have requested officially, both orally and in writing, the closure of these schools. Also, I have sent a letter to Mr Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Minister) and Mr Abba Kyari (Chief of Staff to the President) about this subject and requested their support for the closure of the schools.


“I will also send letters to the Chairmen of Committees on Foreign Affairs in the National Assembly as well as the Senate Majority Leader over the issue and I am going to enclose some documents in English on how the group members are engaged in the army, police and the Judiciary. In Nigeria, there are 17 schools, which belong to the Gulen Movement, one in Kano, one in Kaduna, one in Abuja, Lagos etc and they are offering scholarships.
“We are starting some legal procedures to take the name of Turkish out of the name of the schools. They are not the schools of the Turkish Government.


“They are misleading the public and allocating scholarships to the children of the high bureaucracy and after they graduate from school, they send the children to Turkey to attend their universities,’’ he said.
Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sani, said Turkey had the legitimate right to be concerned about its security in view of the failed coup attempt.
He, however, urged the Turkish government to operate within the ambits of the law in bringing those responsible for the coup to book.
“I think the world should identify and reason with you because if the coup had succeeded there could have been bloodshed.


“One thing I will say is that I will urge you to use the instrument of democracy, liberty and constitutional right to bring to book those who are involved in the coup,” he said.
The ambassador said the Turkish government had closed down all schools linked to the movement in Turkey.
“Turkish government has already closed down all primary, secondary, high schools and universities owned by the group in Turkey. In our system, it is allowed for the foundation to establish schools if they fulfill some requirements and that is how they established these schools.


“This is an issue that the Turkish Government has attached so much importance.
“Recently, my Minister called Mr Onyeama and briefed him about these schools because they are raising funds through the schools and they are using these funds for illegal activities.


“This is a matter of national security for us in Turkey. I have instructions from my government to follow up this matter and we will be very happy to obtain the support of Nigerian legislators on that issue,’’ he said.
He promised to engage other relevant government officials on the matter, adding that “I will take the matter up to the Federal Executive Council. I have also requested an audience with the Minister of Education.
“You may be aware that the government of Turkey started to investigate those responsible for the coup attempt.
“It is really clear that the Gulen Movement is behind the coup. There are some testimonies by detained military officials.


“They are confessing that they are in connection with the Gulen Movement and they have been members of the Gulen Movement for a long time and they have been planning this coup for a long time, nearly five months.
“The Government of Turkey has started to take some legal actions against the leader of the movement. He is now based in the United States. His extradition is a legal matter between Turkey and United States,’’ he said.
On the relations between Nigeria and Turkey, the ambassador said he was optimistic that the trade between the two countries, which declined due to the drop in oil price, would pick up soon.

Breaking: Turkish Airlines Fire 250 Personnel Over Failed Coup

Turkey’s state-run Turkish Airlines fired more than 100 employees, including management and cabin crew, as part of a purge at state institutions to root out supporters of an abortive coup, Turkish media reported on Monday.


The dismissals at the national carrier occurred late on Sunday after it was determined the employees were linked to a religious movement President Tayyip Erdogan has said attempted to overthrow the government on July 15, Sabah newspaper said.


An official at Turkish Airlines, Europe’s fourth-biggest carrier, declined to comment.


Other reports said the dismissals were due to “inefficiency.” Thelira.com, a financial-news website, said about 250 cabin crew were dismissed, along with 100 management and administrative staff.

EU Pushes Turkey On Rule Of Law After Coup Crackdown

Turkey must protect the rule of law as it cracks down after the failed coup, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Monday, as the bloc said it looked like the government had prepared a list of people to arrest beforehand.

“We are the ones saying today rule of law has to be protected in the country, there is no excuse for any steps that take the country away from that,” Mogherini said as European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels.

“As we have been the first ones to say that in that tragic night (of Friday’s coup attempt), the democratic and legitimate institutions needed to be protected,” she told reporters.

“Today we will say together with ministers that obviously doesn’t mean that rule of law and the system of checks and balances in the country does not count. On the contrary it needs to be protected for the sake of the country.

“So we will send a strong message on that.”

Would-be EU member Turkey carried out fresh raids on Monday as the EU ministers were meeting, prompting growing international concern over the scale of the crackdown.

Judges and military commanders are among 6,000 people who were arrested over the weekend as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vows to stamp out the “virus” of the coup plotters.

The EU commissioner dealing with Turkey’s long-stalled bid for membership of the bloc meanwhile said it appeared that the government had already prepared a list before the coup of people to be rounded up.

“I mean, (that) the lists are available already after the event indicates that this was prepared and at a certain moment should be used,” EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn told reporters.

Turkey’s attempts to join the 28-nation European Union have been hobbled in recent years by concern over the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan’s record on human rights and press freedom.

But the EU agreed to speed up its membership bid and give visa-free travel to Turks as part of a migrant crisis deal in which Ankara agreed to take back people landing in the Greek islands.

Credit: Guardian

Mass Arrest After Coup Failed In Turkey

Some 2,839 soldiers, including high-ranking officers, have been arrested over an attempted coup that is now over, says Turkey’s PM Binali Yildirim.
In a night he called a “black stain on Turkish democracy”, he said 161 people had been killed and 1,440 wounded.
Explosions and gunfire were heard in Ankara, Istanbul and elsewhere overnight and thousands of Turks heeded President Erdogan’s call to rise up against the coup-plotters.
It is not clear who is behind the coup.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed a “parallel structure”, in a clear reference to Fethullah Gulen, a powerful but reclusive US-based Muslim cleric he accuses of fomenting unrest.
However, in a statement, Mr Gulen rejected any suggestion he had links to the events, saying he condemned “in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey”.

Credit: Punch

Kofoworola Ayodeji: Lessons from Nigeria’s First Coup

Fifty years ago, on January 15, 1966, things fell apart in Nigeria. The five-year old nation embarked on a journey of no return— Nigeria’s first military coup took place.

Nigeria gained independence from colonial rule in 1960, became a republic in 1963, and was dubbed “a superpower in the making”. But 55 years on, Nigeria is yet to become a superpower. Why? The events of Jan 15, 1966 could suggest some answers.

Greed, tribal sentiments and fight for supremacy among the political class of the first republic gave birth to a series of events that culminated in the violence which erupted after the controversial 1965 federal elections. Dissatisfied with the turn of events, five young Army Majors led by Kaduna Nzeogwu decided to seize power and bring sanity to Nigeria.

Majors Nzeogwu, Ifeajuna, Anuforo, Okafor, and Ademoyega therefore plotted the country’s first military coup. According to them: “Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places, that seek bribes and demand 10%; those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers or VIPs…

Many notable pre- and post-independence politicians—Ahmadu Bello (Premier of Northern region), Tafawa Balewa (Nigeria’s prime minister), Ladoke Akintola (Premier of Western Region), Festus Okotie-Eboh (federal minister of finance)—lost their lives in the coup. And that started many ugly incidents whose effects still haunt Nigeria till date.

Unfortunately, Nzeogwu’s coup was hijacked and the 42-year old General Agunyi Ironsi took over as the military Head of State. That led to a bloody counter-coup on July 29 of the same year, just a little over six months after the first and Agunyi Ironsi was then murdered in cold blood. At that point, tribal sentiments had taken the centre stage. Ironsi was killed by some northern officers because they perceived the Nzeogwu coup as an “Igbo coup”, one that was meant to ensure the dominance of the Igbo tribe.

The 31-year old Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon took over as the new head of military government amidst serious tribal tension. Not long after, the civil war broke out and over a million innocent Biafrans lost their lives, mostly children. After a failed secession bid by the Easterners, this 30-month long “no victor, no vanquished” war ended. Since then, Nigeria and Nigerians have not been the same—it’s been from one crisis to another.

But, have we learnt from past mistakes?

The main reason for which the first coup was staged— Corruption — is still the greatest problem facing the country today, fifty years after. In fact, it has become pervasive and a way of life. In 1966, corrupt politicians were accused of taking 10% bribes. In 2016, they are not only accused of taking bribes but also squandering the funds that were meant to equip the military. What offence could be more disheartening!

Knowledge of the fact that it was the events of 1966 coups that distorted Nigeria’s history should make every Nigerian more passionate and determined to ensure that the wrongs of the past are corrected, so history doesn’t repeat itself. This would mean a more active participation of Nigerians in the process of governance, increased tolerance for each other, and concerted efforts to fight corruption and other social vices.

If we do not want our children’s children to lament the damages done by corruption, tribalism, religious intolerance, terrorism in about fifty years to come, then we have to fight them now. For instance, every Nigerian should see corruption as evil and therefore treat it as such. With this, no citizen will drum support for “elder statesmen” who are caught in the act of looting our commonwealth.

Nigerians should stop having soft spot for their “kinsmen” who are engaged in nefarious and unpatriotic acts.  Nigeria is bigger than any tribe, religion or political party. As a society, we must learn to condemn what is wrong and commend what is right collectively.

We will keep talking about the numerous problems created by Nzeogwu’s coup without appreciable triumph over them, even in years to come, if we do not learn from our past so as to shape the future. Rome was not built in a day, they say. So also Nigeria cannot be built in a day, but we must begin somewhere at least. And a good place to start is by being a more responsible citizens and holding the government accountable, no matter what. God bless the Armed Forces.  God bless Nigeria!

Kofoworola Ayodeji is a Nigerian writer and transformational speaker who is passionately involved in nation-building.


Burkina Faso coup: Gen Gilbert Diendere named new leader

Gen. Gilbert Diendere, a close ally of former President Blaise Compaore has been named the new leader of Burkina Faso, state television reports.

He was also said to be the chief of staff to former President Blaise Compaore, who is currently in exile after he was ousted in a popular uprising last year after 27 years in power.

 Presidential guard officers in Burkina Faso seized power earlier today in a coup, with shooting reported in the capital, Ouagadougou.

The coup leaders have imposed a night-time curfew across the West African state, and have ordered the closure of land and air borders, AFP news agency reports.


The headquarters of Mr Compaore’s Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) party were ransacked in Ouagadougou as news of the coup spread, it adds.

French President Francois Hollande however condemned what he called a coup in the former French colony, while calling for the immediate release of interim President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Isaac Zida, who were detained at a cabinet meeting in the president palace on Wednesday.

The transitional government were due to hand power to a new government after elections on 11 October. Some of Mr Compaore’s key allies were however barred from contesting the election.

Coup In Burkina Faso As Military Dissolves Government

The military in Burkina Faso has announced the dissolution of the country’s transitional government, a day after presidential guards arrested the interim president and prime minister.

President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Yacouba Zida were detained by soldiers who stormed an afternoon Cabinet meeting, plunging the poor West African country into chaos and uncertainty.

The coup comes days before the country’s first election since last year’s ouster of long-serving ruler, Blaise Compaore.

Mr. Compoare was deposed in a popular uprising in 2014.

Read More: premiumtimesng

Burundi President’s Chief Security Officer Assasinated

Gunmen wearing military uniforms shot dead a former Burundian security chief who was a close ally of President Pierre Nkurunziza yesterday Sunday August 2nd. According to presidential spokesman, Willy Nyamitwe who confirmed the news, Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana (pictured) was assassinated yesterday in a car alongside three of his bodyguards in the Kamenge district in Bujumbura.

General Adolphe Nshimirimana was in charge of the president’s personal security at the time of his death. When a president refuses to step down…he brings war to his people!

Presidential spokesperson Nyamitwe said;

“I have lost a brother, a companion in the struggle. The sad reality is that General Adolphe Nshimirimana is no longer with this world,” he said in a message posted on Twitter.

Police and witnesses said the General’s pick-up was hit by two rockets and sprayed with automatic gunfire along with his driver and two others. General Adolphe was a close aide to President Pierre and was seen as the mastermind behind the crackdown on the protests as well as a key player in foiling the coup attempt.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assassination, although the coup plotters have since regrouped and have launched a rebellion in the north of the country, and have also been linked to a string of grenade attacks in Bujumbura. There are fears that renewed conflict in the country could reignite ethnic Hutu-Tutsi violence and bring another humanitarian disaster to central Africa’s troubled Great Lakes region. The last civil war in Burundi, which ended in 2006, left at least 300,000 people dead.

AP/Daily Nation

Burundi President Fires 3 Ministers After Failed Coup

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, has announced a partial cabinet reshuffle in addition to firing the ministers of Defence, foreign affairs and trade, replacing them with trusted figures after a failed coup attempt on May 13 by the military.

The decision was made public a few hours after thousands of people took to the streets of the capital of Burundi, in a new set of protests against Nkurunziza’s intention to seek an unconstitutional third presidential term, sparked after five days of relative calm in the African country.

I Hope They Won’t Kill Us – Burundi Coup Leaders Surrender As President Pierre Returns

Leaders of the failed coup in Burundi against 49 year old President Pierre Nkurunziza, have surrendered on Friday ,with an AFP reporter hearing the arrest by telephone.

The coup leaders’ spokesman, Venon Ndabaneze, was speaking to AFP confirming that they had decided to surrender when loyalist troops arrested him, deputy coup leader Cyrille Ndayirukiye and another senior figure among the mutineers.

The leader of the coup attempt, former intelligence chief General Godefroid Niyombare, also said via telephone that he was surrendering,adding that troops loyal to the president were approaching him.

“We have decided to surrender,”“I hope they won’t kill us,” he added.

It was unclear what happened to him

Burundian President Back After Coup Attempt

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza arrived back in the country Thursday, a day after a coup was declared while he was in Tanzania for regional talks, his office said.

 A file picture taken on 14 December 2006 in Nairobi at the UN-sponsored conference on the Great Lakes Region shows Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza. Burundi's presidency said an attempted coup by a top general had

“President Pierre Nkurunziza is now in Burundi,” his senior communications advisor Willy Nyamitwe told AFP. “That’s all we can say for the now because of security reasons.”

Nkurunziza was in neighbouring Tanzania for regional talks Wednesday when the coup was announced by former intelligence chief Godefroid Niyombare, in a culmination of weeks of street protests against the president’s bid to seek a third term.

But the outcome of the coup appeared uncertain Thursday as rival factions within the security forces clashed around the state television and radio complex.

Broadcasts to the nation were briefly interrupted but resumed after anti-coup forces repelled a major attack by rival troops.

In the afternoon, station director Jerome Nzokirantevye said it was “loyalist soldiers who are in control.”

The bodies of three soldiers were seen by an AFP journalist lying in the street.

The crisis has raised fears of a return to widespread violence in the impoverished country, which is still recovering from a 13-year civil war that ended in 2006 and left hundreds of thousands dead.

The coup announcement triggered international criticism and the United States insisted Nkurunziza remained the legitimate president.

“There are competing claims to authority, but we recognise President Nkurunziza as the legitimate president,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters.

The UN Security Council, in emergency talks on the crisis on Thursday, condemned the coup attempt and called for a swift return to the rule of law in the impoverished country.

UN envoy Said Djinnit briefed the council, saying it was “still unclear” whether the coup attempt would succeed, a diplomat told AFP.

AFP reporters in the Burundian capital said the crackle of automatic weapons fire and the thump of explosions could be heard throughout the night Wednesday, and intensified around dawn on Thursday.

For much of the day the streets were largely deserted by civilians as sporadic clashes could be heard in other parts of the city, while plumes of smoke were seen on the city skyline.

Both sides claimed to control the streets.

But Burundi’s armed forces chief, a supporter of the president, went on national radio to declare that the coup, launched by former intelligence chief Godefroid Niyombare, had failed.

Read more www.vanguardngr.com

State Of Jersey To Return £315m Abacha Loot To Nigeria

The State of Jersey, the biggest territory in the Channels Island, is set to return £315 million Abacha loot to Nigeria.

Mr Micheal Birt, the Ballif of Jersey stated this at a dinner in honour of Dr Dalhatu Tafida, Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK during a state visit to the Island.

Birt, who doubles as the Island’s Civic Head of State and ceremonial head, is the highest ranking official in the Jersey order of precedence.

Island, famous for its transparent banking services, had previously repatriated in two tranches £140 million of the loot.

Late Sani Abacha

The Europe correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports in London that the money was laundered on behalf of Abacha by Mr Raj Bhojwani, an Indian businessman. Bhojwani is currently serving an eight-year sentence in a UK prison.

Speaking on Jersey’s financial services and global perception of the Island, Birt said that the repatriated loot was in line with ongoing campaign against money laundering.

He said: “We have done a lot to clean up the image of the Island as a safe haven for stolen wealth. What we have in place is a transparent and legal finance heaven where only legal funds can be deposited and accessed by investors.”

Source – Vanguard NGR

Masked Men Arrest Madagascar’s Former President on Return

Madagascar’s exiled former leader Marc Ravalomanana was detained on Monday after returning to the Indian Ocean island for the first time since he was deposed in a coup in 2009.

“It’s for his safety that he was arrested,” said President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who took office in January after an election last December. “Besides, it’s not an arrest but rather placement in a supervised area to ensure his safety.”

Ravalomanana, exiled to South Africa, had tried returning to Madagascar several times since 2009 but was prevented by the authorities who feared his homecoming would bring further instability to the island, which has a long history of coups.

“I’m not coming to bring trouble but to bring peace and work for Madagascar’s development,” Ravalomanana had told reporters earlier in the day.

“I reiterate my spirit of reconciliation. The initiatives I have taken are in this direction,” he added, in reference to Ravalomanana’s detention. One witness who saw Ravalomanana being detained said masked men stormed his home and took him away.

Government officials and Ravalomanana said the former president did not inform the authorities that he would return.


Lesotho Police Investigate own Officers Over Coup Killing

Lesotho’s police force is investigating some of its own officers for their possible role in an attempted military coup that left one policeman dead, senior commissioners have told AFP.

 At least two officers are being investigated as part of a wider treason and murder inquiry, suggesting the putsch which forced the prime minister to flee to South Africa may be broader and more intricately planned than first thought.

“There are allegations that some police were working with (the) military on this, and we’re looking into it,” Deputy Police Commissioner Masupha Masupha told AFP.

“Even I’ve been implicated. But investigating and charging are different things. If I find something, I won’t shy away from confronting anyone with their unlawful acts.”

Lehloka Maphatsoe, an assistant police commissioner who is also head of the Interpol national central bureau — told AFP on Monday that the cellphones of two police officers have been sent to neighbouring South Africa for analysis.

Police in Bloemfontein are checking for “suspicious communications” prior to the attacks and whether there were attempts to delete that evidence.

He cautioned that the allegations against the police were unproven and could be part of a “propaganda strategy to cause panic or distrust among members of the police service.”

Coup Attempt in Lesotho?

The Kingdom of Lesotho has been caught up in what diplomats said seemed to be an attempted coup.

A diplomat from the nation’a capital, Maseru said on Saturday that, “Military police have surrounded State House and there are reports of gunfire.”

Some South African radio stations also reported that privately owned radio stations were off air in Lesotho.

Since June, political tension has been high when the Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane suspended the country’s parliament to avoid a no-confidence vote amid feuding in the two-year-old coalition government.

In return, Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing had vowed to form a new coalition that would expel Thabane.


Lesotho has experienced quite a number of military coups, since its independence in 1966.  The year 1998 records the killing of at least 58 locals and 8 South African soldiers who died during a political stand-off and subsequent fighting, while  large parts of Maseru were damaged.