The reported "assassination" of a Malaysian diplomat in Madagascar has fuelled more conspiracy theories about the fate of missing flight MH370.
Honorary Consul of Malaysia Zahid Raza was tasked with transported pieces of suspected wreckage from the flight.
But on August 24 Mr Raza was gunned down in the centre of the island’s capital Antananarivo.
American adventurer-detective Blaine Gibson has been collecting suspected debris from the flight as it washes up in Madagascar and Mozambique.
Mr Gibson planned to give the items to Mr Raza who would then deliver the debris to Malaysian investigators in Kuala Lumpur that was until he 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.”
Mr Gibson said he has received death threats because of his self-financed research into what happened to the flight.
Dr Victor Iannello, who assisted Australian investigators to pinpoint MH370’s crash site in the southern Indian Ocean off WA, said Mr Gibson had 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.
“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 March 8, 2014.
It was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing carrying 239 people, including six Australians.
Many pieces of the plane have since been recovered, but the black box and fuselage remain missing leading to countless conspiracy theories.
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But according to French news website ZINFOS 974, Mr Raza may have been killed due to his involvement in the 2009 abduction of several Indo-Pakistani residents.
“Zahid Raza was the manager of an office supply business, Z & Z Center, in the Malagasy capital. He lived a few years in La Reunion before returning to Madagascar about three years ago to take up the post of consul in Antananarivo,” the article on Mr Raza’s death reads.
“In Madagascar, his name is associated with the kidnapping of members of the Karen community in Fianarantsoa in 2009. Suspected of having participated, he is imprisoned in Tsiafahy and then in Antanimora prison. He was able to return to his country freely in December 2010, provoking indignation within the Karen community.”
Dr Iannello said the association of Mr Raza with the kidnappers “had not been confirmed and could be disinformation” and there had been “conflicting stories about his background”.
“Hopefully, the facts surrounding this will surface. Surprisingly, the assassination of Mr Raza has been met with stony silence from both Malaysia and France, despite his ties to both countries,” he said.
The debris is still with Madagascar authorities.