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Madagascar

Madagascar troops mutiny ahead of Rajoelina-Ravalamanana meeting

AFP/Andreea Campeanu

Troops stationed near Madagascar’s main airport mutinied on Sunday with gunfire lasting more than four hours. The violence comes ahead of this week’s planned meeting between current leader Andry Rajoelina and ousted president Marc Ravalomanana.

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Gunfire broke out at the Ivato military base which houses the Intervention Forces Regiment (RFI) near Antanananarivo international airport at 6.00 am, abated after four hours and then resumed intermittently. Flights were suspended.

"This morning there was indeed a mutiny led by certain elements. The chief of staff has things in hand," Defence Minister Andre Lucien Rakotoarimasy told the AFP news agency.

He did not know the mutineers’ demands, he said.

The leader of the renegade troops was identified as Koto Mainty, known as the "Black Corporal", a former member of the regiment said, adding that several young recruits had joined him.

The violence comes ahead of a meeting, due to take place on Wednesday in the Seychelles, between current President Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana, who was ousted by an army-backed coup in 2009.

An agreement between the two is expected within 24 hours of the start of their discussion.

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