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Madagascan president attacks opposition actions
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14:28, March 14, 2009

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Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana attacked on Friday a group of persons who had gone "beyond the legal framework and seek to deprive him of his life."

Meeting four leaders of the influential Christian Council of Churches of the Indian Ocean island country, Ravalomanana said that "the international community does not condone the coup" in his country.

According to the presidential website, Ravalomanana appealed to the police and the armed forces to remain united while performing their duties in neutrality in the on-going political crisis that began last December.

Ravalomanana promised to the Christian Church leaders that his government would respect conditions put forward by the mediators between him and his rival, Andry Rajoelina, for the success of a planed national consultation, which should have began last Thursday.

Chairman of the Christian Council of Churches, Odon Razanakolona, announced on Wednesday that the consultation was postponed infinitely due to the boycott of the opposition for security reasons.

However, he said, the council had began a new process of mediation for an earlier opening of the consultation to seek a peaceful solution to the stalemate between the president and the opposition, which had already killed over 100 of people.

"We have been asked by the United Nations and the international community to lead this mediation work between president Ravalomanana and the opposition leader Andry Rajoelina," he added.

He called all parties concerned to stop "all forms of terrorism, provocation, acts to take (government) departments, and any form of arrest for the success of the national consultation.

A private pro-government radio, Radio Mada, reported early on Friday that two tanks were moved to the capital city by the rebel armed troops around 22:00 pm (19:00 GMT) on Thursday from the Arivonimamo barrack, 60 kilometers west of here, to attack the presidential palace.

The radio called all supporters of president Ravalomanana to gather around the presidential palace in Iavoloha, a district 15 kilometers south of here, and to seal off all roads to and from the palace to protect the president.

Last Wednesday, commanders of nine Antananarivo-based military barracks discharged General Edmond Asolomahandry, the Chief of General-Staff appointed by president Marc Ravalomanana just one month earlier, and appointed Colonel Andre Ndriarijaona as their new chief.

In Madagascar, Chief of the General-Staff of the army is normally appointed by the President.

A spokesman of the rebel troops, Colonel Claude Rakotonandrasana confirmed on Friday that they had deployed two tanks in Antananarivo to "intercept all mercenaries."

There have been rumors on the latest development of the political crisis, like the resignation of prime minister Charles Rabemananjara following his meeting with Monja Roindefo Thursday evening, the prime minister of the transitional government set by Rajoelina early last month, and the arrival of foreign mercenaries invited by president Ravalomanana to the island country.

However, a local website, sobika.com, has rejected the reportson Rabemananjara's resignation as rumors.

Source: Xinhua

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