Revelations that a Malaysian diplomat murdered in Madagascar last week was tasked with transporting pieces of suspected MH370 wreckage to investigators in Malaysia has fuelled more dark conspiracy theories about the missing plane.
Honorary Consul of Malaysia Zahid Raza was gunned down in the centre of the island nation’s capital Antananarivo in an apparent assassination on August 24.
American adventurer-detective Blaine Gibson, who has been gathering suspected MH370 debris as it washes up on Madagascar and Mozambique, said Mr Raza had been due to deliver new items to Malaysian investigators in Kuala Lumpur when he was unexpectedly slain.
The timing has rattled Mr Gibson, who says he has been receiving death threats because of his self-financed mission to solve the baffling aviation mystery.
He had planned to keep details of his latest finds — which included two items he considered particularly promising — under wraps until they had been safely transported off the island but changed his mind after Mr Raza was killed.
“For the protection of those involved we decided not to make this report public until the debris was safely delivered to Malaysia,” Mr Gibson reported in his blog.
“However tragic events have intervened. Under the agreement between the two countries, debris is supposed to be collected by Hon. Zahid Raza, the Honorary Malaysian Consul in Madagascar, and delivered by private courier to Malaysia.
“On August 24, the Hon. Zahid Raza was assassinated in Antananarivo.”
Dr Victor Iannello, who was an original member of the independent group of specialists that helped Australian investigators try to pinpoint MH370’s crash site in the southern Indian Ocean off WA, said Mr Gibson had good reason to be concerned.
“Last December, Reuters reported that Mr Raza assisted Blaine Gibson in transferring the custody of pieces believed to be from MH370 from Madagascar to Malaysia,” Dr Iannello wrote in his blog about the disturbing chain of events.
“At that time, six pieces were transferred. This has raised questions as to whether there was a link between those MH370 parts and Mr Raza’s death.
“What makes a possible link to MH370 even more suspicious is that in the time period surrounding his death, Mr Raza was expected to visit the Malagasy Ministry of Transport, retrieve additional recovered pieces, and deliver those pieces to Malaysia.”
Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 vanished on August 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 crew and passengers, including six Australians, on board.
Multiple pieces of wreckage, including a barnacle entrusted flaperon, the iconic “No Step” piece and at least one section of interior cabin, have been confirmed as having come from the missing Boeing 777 after washing up on islands off Africa’s south-east coast.
The fuselage and black box have never been found, leading to countless conspiracy theories about how, where and why the plane went down and whether authorities and associated companies such as Boeing orchestrated a cover up to protect their interests.
So it should come as no surprise that Mr Raza’s assassination is being viewed by some as a warning to anyone getting close to the truth.