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Madagascar soldiers refuse to obey orders to repress opposition
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09:51, March 09, 2009

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Soldiers at a barrack in Soanierana, an administrative district six kilometers from here said on Sunday that they would not obey orders of their commanders to repress the anti-government demonstrators.

A senior official denied the action as a mutiny, saying that these soldiers just wanted a quick solution to the current political crisis that began last December between president Marc Ravalomanana and the sacked Antananarivo mayor Andry Rajoelina.

The official, who asked not to be identified, informed Xinhua through telephone that some soldiers at the military camp called a meeting on Sunday morning, in which they decided not to obey orders from the regime.

Reports reaching to Xinhua office here said that government troops had surrounded the barracks but there had been no fighting till Sunday evening.

The defense official said that the stalemate between Ravalomanana and Rajoelina had, as a matter of fact, come to an end with the latter was now hiding in a "secured" place.

Last Wednesday, Ravalomanana ordered the armed forces to restore peace and security in the capital city, which has been in a mass turmoil in nearly two months.

The armed troops have sealed off all the roads to and from the center, where the opposition has normally called anti-government demonstrations since last December.

Rajoelina proclaimed to be in charge of the national affairs of the Indian Ocean island country early last month following the close-down by the government of his private television channel and a radio station towards the end of last year.


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