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Madagascar Marc Ravalomanana President South Africa

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Madagascar's Ravalomanana barred from returning home

Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Former Madagascar president Marc Ravalomanana was barred from returning to the country on Saturday, after the Malagasy government blocked him from boarding a flight inĀ  South Africa. Ravalomanana risked imprisonment for returning to Madagascar after spending two years in exile.

The airline "say they have received this note from Madagascar civil avaiation saying that I am a non grata person," Ravalomanana said at O.R. Tambo airport in Johannesburg.

"I am very, very disappointed right now," he said. "If the [airline] received the notice there is nothing you can do," he added.

South African Airways had been advised on Friday not to allow Ravalomanana to board the plane.

Malagasy President Andry Rajoelina, who pushed out Ravalomanana with the help of the military, assumed power in 2009. He said Ravalomanana would be made to serve a life sentence in prison if he returned. The deposed ruler was convicted in absentia for the deaths of 30 protesters after ordering the presidential guard to fire on the crowd.