`Indian, Pakistani businessmen paid for 2009 Madagascar coup`

Colonel Andrianasoavina was held for participating in 2009 coup attempt.

Antananarivo: A Madagascar Army colonel arrested for participating in last November`s coup attempt in the country alleged on Saturday that local businessmen, but also Indian and Pakistani businessmen, helped to finance the March 2009 coup.

Colonel Charles Andrianasoavina, in parts of a letter published in the Malaza newspaper, said the businessmen provided 1.2 billion ariary (USD 6 million) to finance the unrest leading to the March 2009 coup in the Indian Ocean island off the southeastern coast of Africa.

Andrianasoavina called for an international investigation of the March 2009 coup and said he would be prepared to testify.

The letter was sent to former Mozambique premier Joachim Chissano, who is now serving as mediator for the Southern African Development Community to try to resolve the political impasse on the island.

After the March 2009 coup, the SADC suspended Madagascar`s membership in the organisation.

Andrianasoavina admitted that he himself had received USD 10,000 for his part in the November 2009 coup led by current President Andry Rajoelina, which toppled then-president Marc Ravalomanana from power.

Arrested after last November`s failed coup attempt, Andrianasoavina was viewed as trying to position himself as a key witness for the prosecution against the government of Rajoelina.

The unrest against Ravalomanana began in January 2009 as gangs launched a wave of plundering of shops and businesses, followed by the storming of the government palace on February 07.

Presidential guards shot dead some 30 rebels then, but the crisis escalated, eventually forcing Ravalomanana to flee March 17, 2009.

Now living in exile in South Africa, Ravalomanana a few days ago filed a suit in a court in Antananarivo against the coup leaders on a variety of charges including violating the Constitution.