Madagascar's coup attempt triggers rhetoric between rival camps

18:48, April 21, 2010      

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While supporters of Madagascar's Highest Transitional Authority (HAT) President Andry Rajoelina link Sunday's attempted attack on the premiership to former president Marc Ravalomanana, those of Ravalomanana's group calls it a cinema.

On Sunday, colonel Rene Lilison of the Special Intervention Forces (FIS) close to Rajoelina announced that an attempted coup d'etat was thwarted and that the military officers and some civilians were arrested for having planned the overnight attack on the prime minister's palace, which is situated in the southeast of the capital Antananarivo.

According to the website, which is considered to be pro-Rajoelina, the arrestees included two military officers close to Ravalomanana.

One was identified as chief warrant officer Rodolphe, a former member of the presidential guard under the regime of Ravalomanana. Another was reported to be lieutenant colonel Cesar, who was guarding Fetison Rakoto Andrianirina, the co-transitional president from Ravalomanana's camp.

General Raoelina, the head of presidential guard under Ravalomanana was also mentioned in the coup attempt, although he was suffering from cardio-vasicular disease and hospitalized in Antananarivo.

The same website said Rodolphe had admitted that the money they spent in planning the coup was from former president Ravalomanana. Cesar was quoted as saying, "Besides the 20 U. S. dollars they were paid every day, they were each going to be compensated with a sum of 1,000 dollars if the mission is successful."

FIS led by colonel Lilison has arrested 21 people including a general who turned up for investigation on Monday.

General Desire Ramakavelo of HAT declared, "Some people are seeking nothing else than to create disorder in this country even though they know a solution to get the Great Island from the crisis is being sought."

"No other group wants to do this except Ravalomanana's movement," he said.

Ramakavelo accused Ravalomanana's camp and the other two led respectively by former presidents Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy of rejecting "the proposals advanced by the Madagascan people to resolve the crisis."

On the side of Ravalomanana's camp, Congress Transitional President Mamy Rakotoarivelo declared, "It was a coup of a splinter group and not a coup d'etat."

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