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Madagascar: Mutinous leader claims control of army

Madagascar: Mutinous leader claims control of army

The leader of mutinous soldiers in Madagascar declared himself in control of the army Wednesday, raising questions about how much longer Marc Ravalomanana can hold onto the presidency.
Col. Andre Ndrianarijaona walked into offices of the army chief of staff in the capital Wednesday. After less than an hour, Ndrianarijaona emerged and told reporters that the chief of staff, Gen. Edmond Rasolomahandry, had yielded the post to him.
There was no immediate comment from President Ravalomanana, who appointed Rasolomahandry chief of staff last month. Ndrianarijaona, who now claims the position for himself, leads a group of soldiers who announced over the weekend they would no longer take orders from the president.
Ndrianarijaona said Wednesday that his discussions with Rasolomahandry had been "brotherly" and that "the army is behind me, united, so the solidarity of the army has been preserved."
The army's support for President Ravalomanana began to waver last month after security forces fired on anti-government demonstrators, killing at least 25. The defense minister resigned last month to protest the deaths of the civilians, and her successor resigned Tuesday.
Opposition leader Andry Rajoelina set off the turmoil by leading protests accusing the president of misspending funds, undermining democracy and being responsible for the deaths of protesters. Rajoelina has proposed that he take over the presidency from Ravalomanana, but it was not immediately clear Wednesday if the army had thrown its support to Rajoelina.


Updated : 2021-08-02 05:37 GMT+08:00