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Madagascar Security Forces Clash Turns Deadly

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

Officials in Madagascar's capital say one person was killed and five others wounded when rival security forces exchanged gunfire Thursday.

Witnesses say shooting broke out when army and military police (gendarme) forces confronted members of an elite police unit that was reported to be protesting abuses by their superiors.

Military police Colonel Richard Ravalomanana said 21 members of the unit were involved in the clash and remained holed up in their barracks. He said the man killed was a military police officer.

Madagascar has been tense since early 2009, when Andry Rajoelina ousted President Marc Ravalomanana with the support of the military.

The African Union has refused to recognize Mr. Rajoelina as president, and efforts to install a power-sharing government have failed.

The military recently asked Mr. Rajoelina for a "clear road map" to end the political crisis and restore stability.

Mr. Rajoelina has set presidential elections for November. He said earlier this month that he would not run, so the political transition could end in what he called "a neutral manner."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.