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U.S. Diplomat Found Dead in Madagascar Home, Suspect Arrested

A gridlocked road during peak hour traffic in the Madagascan capital, Antananirivo, on Feb 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Martin Vogl)

WASHINGTON — A U.S. diplomat serving in Antananarivo, Madagascar, was found dead at home over the weekend and a suspect is in custody, though local officials and the State Department are offering scant details.

Police spokesman Herilalatiana Andrianarisaona told reporters that “after receiving a call from neighbors and private security guards, the gendarmerie night patrol found an American diplomat dead at his home” in the island nation’s capital.

Paramedics found the U.S. envoy dead upon arrival at the home. The spokesman said a suspect was caught “trying to jump the perimeter fence fleeing from the house.”

Andrianarisaona wouldn’t divulge any other details, only to say the death is under investigation.

State Department press secretary Heather Nauert said in a statement that the department was “deeply saddened to confirm that a U.S. Foreign Service Officer was found dead in their residence in the overnight hours of Friday, Sept. 21.”

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and to the U.S. Embassy Antananarivo community,” Nauert said. “Diplomatic Security is collaborating with local Malagasy authorities on a joint investigation and a suspect is currently in custody. Out of respect for the family of the deceased as well as the ongoing investigative process, the Department does not have any additional comments at this time.”

The travel advisory level for Madagascar is “exercise increased caution” due to “civil unrest and crime.”

“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 State Department said in a July 31 travel advisory.

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office warns that “although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Madagascar, attacks can’t be ruled out.”