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Madagascar's Ravalomanana Urges Forceful Action - 2002-04-05


Madagascar's self-declared ruler Marc Ravalomanana says the island nation is now at war with those who oppose his claim to power.

In a statement, (Friday), Mr. Ravalomanana urged police, the armed forces and the Malagasy people to lift roadblocks erected by his opponents between Antananarivo, the capital, and coastal port cities.

The statement, read on radio and television, said soldiers and police who do not heed his appeal will be considered "enemies of the people" and tried. The self-proclaimed leader also announced the creation of a new, so-called National Security Council that will include members of the security forces and private citizens who support him.

Supporters of internationally-recognized President Didier Ratsiraka erected the roadblocks after Mr. Ravalomanana declared himself head of state in late February and seized control of Antanarivo.

There are reports of dwindling oil and food supplies in the capital in the last several days.

The crisis stems from a dispute over last December's presidential election, which Mr. Ravalomanana says he won outright. The international community has refused to recognize the his takeover.

(Reuters, AFP, FBIS, )

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