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Antananarivo - A Madagascan government minister claimed on Thursday an angry mob attacked and burnt his private jet as he visited the country's Farafanaga region earlier this week.
Economy, Commerce and Industry Minister Ivohasina Razafimahefa told AFP that rumours had circulated that he was carrying money aboard while on an official visit to the town of Farafangana on Tuesday.
"Acting on this information, people stormed the plane hoping there would be a large amount of money inside but of course they did not find anything. Disappointed, they decided to set fire to the plane," he said.
The minister said he had to seek refuge in his hotel before flying back to the capital Antananarivo by helicopter later.
Madagascar has been embroiled in a political crisis following a row between the mayor of Anatananarivo, Andry Rajoelina, and the country's president, Marc Ravalomanana, over the government's handling of the economy.
Ravalomanana sacked the outspoken 34-year-old Rajoelina on Wednesday, sparking protests from hundreds of the mayor's supporters in the island's capital.
At least 68 people died in riots that erupted during protests called by Rajoelina to increase pressure on the president and his government.
Razafimahefa said he had gone to Farafengana to arrange the resupply of basic products. - Sapa-AFP