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Report Assassination Plot Foiled in Seychelles

September 14, 1986 GMT

LONDON (AP) _ President France Albert Rene of the Seychelles fired his defense minister, arrested 12 other people and forced several senior army officers to retire after foiling a plot to assassinate him, the Sunday Times reported.

The plotters on the Indian Ocean island ″were upset at the country’s poor economic position, made worse by political repression, a decline in tourism and dwindling foreign exchange reserves,″ the story said.

Rene seized power in a coup in 1977 and the failed plot will now push him ″even further to the left,″ the weekly said, quoting Seychelles former Foreign Minister Maxim Ferrari. It said Ferrari left the Seychelles two years ago, saying he feared for his life.

The report did not say where Ferrari was interviewed.

The fired defense minister is Ogilvy Berlouis, ″who enjoyed the backing of the North Korean-trained army and was regarded as Rene’s most powerful rival,″ the report said. The Sunday Times reported it spoke with Rene and the president said he had accepted Berlouis’ resignation.

The newspaper identified one dismissed army officer as Raymond Bonte, and said he fled the Seychelles to Kenya, where he met with Ferrari’s supporters. The Seychelles archipelago is 600 miles southeast of Kenya.

The report said Rene learned of the plot while attending the recent conference of non-aligned countries in Zimbabwe and left a day early to confront the conspirators on Sept. 6.

Soldiers disenchanted with Rene’s left-wing regime planned to assassinate the president when his plane was scheduled to return Sept. 7, the report said.