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Madagascan defense minister alerts armed forces
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09:50, June 14, 2009

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The defense minister under the Madagascan transitional government has warned the armed forces here on Friday against the possible return of former President Marc Ravalomanana with foreign armed troops.

At the end of a 3-day conference of the national police here on Friday, Noel Rakotonandrasana told the media reporters that Madagascan armed forces is "now in high alert".

Madagascan armed forces have to prepare for possible attacks by foreign troops, which Ravalomanana has repeatedly said he would take to restore the constitutional order and his presidency.

"We do not neglect any information reaching to the armed forces," L'Express, a French-language daily, quoted the minister as saying on Saturday.

Rumors have been circulating this week that Ravalomanana might be back with foreign armed peacekeepers at the weekend.

Ravalomanana, who has lived in exile in Swaziland and South Africa since March 25, said in several occasions that he is still the constitutional president of the country and would be back, if necessary, with foreign armed peacekeepers.

Ravalomanana was replaced by former Antananarivo mayor Andry Rajoelina on March 21 and fled out the country four days after.

Ravalomanana, who ruled the country from 2002 to March this year, was sentenced in absentia to four years in jail with a fine of 70 million U.S. dollars by a Madagascan court early this month for his abuse of power during his presidency.

Madagascar has been in political crisis since last December, when Rajoelina called mass demonstrations to overthrow the regime led by Ravalomanana.

Source: Xinhua

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