Ex-Madagascar president denies backing mutiny plot

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Madagascar’s ex-president Marc Ravalomanana said an interview he had nothing to do with a military rebellion earlier this week in his homeland and remained committed to power-sharing talks.

President Andry Rajoelina has accused Ravalomanana of backing Thursday’s mutiny by a military police faction, saying he had thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars at military chiefs in an attempt to destabilise Madagascar.
“I … deny any involvement in the clashes in Madagascar,” Ravalomanana told Reuters by telephone from Pretoria in South Africa where he is in exile.
“I have nothing to do with the military leaders that are behind this and it is not in my interest to finance violent action in the army,” he said.

But Ravalomanana said he remained committed to power-sharing talks and hoped a second round of negotiations in Pretoria would take place soon. “I am ready to work and support the people of Madagascar, if they need me,” he said.

Rajoelina, who toppled Ravalomanana in a coup on the world’s fourth largest island last year to become Africa’s youngest leader, has said any further discussions with his bitter rival would be destined to fail.

A statement issued by Rajoelina’s office last Thursday accused Ravalomanana of having transferred 500 million ariary (about $250 000) to certain sympathetic military leaders behind the attempted uprising that left two dead.
“The objective was to create tensions within the armed forces, especially among the top brass,” the statement said.

A senior military police officer said the leader of the rebellion, Colonel Raymond Andrianjafy, was in detention after security forces on Thursday stormed a military camp following gun battles with the dissident troops.
“During the course of our investigation, the name of a politician has been cited as having supplied Colonel Raymond Andrianjafy with the necessary means,” regional military police commander Colonel Richard Ravalomanana told Reuters in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo.
“The name of a close ally of the former president (Ravalomanana) has also been mentioned,” Ravalomanana said.

Some analysts say the former disc jockey’s crackdown on dissenters and his failure to restore political order have deepened rifts within the armed forces, opening the doors to manipulation by senior politicians.

Rajoelina has pledged to hold a referendum on constitutional reform in August and a presidential election in November to end the almost 18-month political crisis in Madagascar, which is also the world’s No. 1 vanilla producer.



Source: www.af.reuters.com