In Madagascar, mutinous troops say they control the army's tanks but
deny they are planning to attack the presidential palace. The latest
development comes amid weeks of unrest.
A spokesmen for
the mutinous troops, Col. Noel Rakotonandrasana, Friday said his group
had deployed the tanks at a barracks in Antananarivo.
But local reporter Mialy Randriamampianina said that no tanks were visible in the capital.
is said that there are some tanks here in the town of Antananarivo
right now," he noted. "We haven't really seen it in the streets. We
don't know exactly where they are but this morning the army said those
tanks are in the town in order to protect the civilian population."
said the report caused concern among officials in the government of
President Marc Ravalomanana. He went on national television Thursday
night to appeal for the armed forces to remain neutral in his standoff
with former Mayor Andry Rajoelina.
The defense minister
Vice-Admiral Mamy Ranaivoniarivo resigned earlier this week but state
radio Thursday said he had resumed his post.
demonstrations and confrontations that have killed more than 100 people
have polarized the nation and caused divisions with the military.
mutineers last week said they would no longer observe orders to kill
their own people and suggested it was time for the president to step
The confrontation began in January after the government
closed a radio station owned by Rajoelina. This followed a rally during
which the former mayor accused the president of corruption and
Rajeolina subsequently announced his cabinet
and said he was taking over the government. The president responded by
dismissing him as mayor and sent troops to surround his residence.
leaders, the United Nations and the African Union have tried to
mediate. But the negotiations stalled after Rajoelina walked out
accusing the president of going back on promises made.
unrest has hurt Madagascar's tourism industry and foreign investment.
The US embassy has urged its citizens to consider leaving while
commercial airlines are operating normally.