An aircraft flying Madagascar's exiled former leader Marc Ravalomanana home on Saturday was diverted to Mozambique after the Malagasy authorities ordered the jet to turn around, a spokesman for Ravalomanana said.

Madagascar civil aviation has turned the plane around and it's been diverted to Pemba in Mozambique. It doesn't have enough fuel to return all the way. It will refuel there and then return to Johannesburg, a spokesman for the ousted president told Reuters in Johannesburg.

A Malagasy government minister confirmed that the plane, which earlier departed from South Africa, had turned around but said the reasons were unknown.

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Richard Lough and David Stamp)