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US diplomat killed in Madagascar, State Dept. confirms

American embassy in Antananarivo, Madagascar. (Lukys/WikiCommons)
September 25, 2018

On Tuesday, the State Department confirmed the death of a U.S. diplomat in Madagascar and announced the arrest of an individual suspected of foul play.

Investigations are underway by both U.S. and Madagascar officers after the U.S. diplomat was discovered deceased in his Antananarivo home on Friday, according to State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, ABC News reported Tuesday.

Nauert said, “We are deeply saddened to confirm that a U.S. Foreign Service Officer was found dead in his residence. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and to the U.S. Embassy Antananarivo community.”

Police found the diplomat dead at his residence after calls came in from security guards and neighbors early Saturday morning, News 24 reported. The diplomat’s death was confirmed by paramedics when they arrived on the scene.

No information has been made available about the diplomat or the cause of death while the investigation is pending, the State Department said.

Antananarivo police spokesperson, Herilalatiana Andrianarisaona, said a suspect was arrested after he was “caught trying to jump the perimeter fence fleeing from the house.”

“Driven by poverty and the continuing downward employment trends, the entire country has experienced a dramatic spike not only in the number of crimes, but also in their severity and type, including armed attacks, robberies, and assaults,” according to the State Department’s travel office.

Madagascar carries a Level Two travel warning that says visitors should “exercise increased caution” when traveling there due to civil unrest and crime in the extremely poverty-stricken country.

The travel warning issued July 18 stated, “Madagascar is preparing for presidential elections in 2018. There is an increased risk for civil unrest related to the elections during demonstrations and political rallies.”

The travel office also banned U.S. employees from traveling on minibus taxis because the rate of carjackings and muggings are so high.