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Quiet Returns to Madagascar

  • Peter Clottey

Army soldiers take cover behind their vehicles during a shootout between rival Madagascan security forces in the streets of the capital Antananarivo, 20 May 2010

Army soldiers take cover behind their vehicles during a shootout between rival Madagascan security forces in the streets of the capital Antananarivo, 20 May 2010

There is an uneasy calm a day after Thursday’s heavy gunfire exchange between the national army and a faction of the military police in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, resident Joshua Rabe told VOA.

He said President Andre Rajoelina’s government is yet to officially react to what some have described as an attempted mutiny by a faction of the military police, displeased with the ongoing political crisis.

“Yes, it is pretty quiet. People are just waiting the development of the event, but the last information that we had is that they (police) surrendered,” he said.

Local media reported that at least two national army soldiers were killed and three unarmed civilians were wounded during the heavy gunfire exchange between the army and a faction of the military police.

The report also stated that the army was able to take control of the military camp ending the attempted mutiny by a small group of police.

Rabe said there has been no government reaction to the gunfire exchange.

“There is no reaction, so far. We are still waiting for those official reactions and that is why people are quiet and they want to know what will be the future…People are quiet now because they (police) have already surrendered,” Rabe said.

In a recent televised speech, embattled President Rajoelina vowed to push ahead with forming a new government in a transitional period with the aim of writing a new constitution and organizing a free vote. He also decided not to participate in the presidential election he scheduled for 26 November – a move one analyst said was aimed at resolving the crisis.

But, opposition groups rejected what they said were Mr. Rajoelina’s unilateral decisions.

Rabe said the new cabinet is likely to include members of the military.

“This will be a cabinet which will consist of new military members and I think it will be expected (named Friday),” Rabe said. “What’s new is that there would be at least six new members and the other previous ministers will be kept in this new cabinet.”

Meanwhile, the government has reportedly rejected former President Marc Ravalomanana’s demands for fresh peace talks to end the ongoing political stalemate.

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