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Mutiny occurs in Malagasy military camp near airport

(Xinhua)

12:54, July 23, 2012

ANTANANARIVO, July 22 (Xinhua) -- The exchange of fire took place Sunday morning at a military camp of the 1st Regiment of the Intervention Force (RFI) near the international airport in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo, killing two people and wounding two others, military sources at the site said.

A soldier on the spot who asked remain anonymous told Xinhua that there were two dead and two wounded. He did not give more details, but said one of the deceased came from the negotiating team with the mutineers who remain inside the camp.

Senior officials broke into the camp in preparation for negotiations but failed and the leaders have already left the camp, sources said.

There were no official information available from the Ministry of Defense about the negotiation.

According to Colonel Rarason, who is in charge of information at the Ministry of Defense, said seven soldiers broke into the camp of the RFI Ivato earlier Sunday in a purpose to take possession of heavy weapons from the database. They threatened the soldiers in the camp out of the weapons at their disposal.

Defending themselves, the military RFI reacted to the threat and exchange of fire started.

Since Sunday morning, flights at the airport in Antananarivo have been suspended and the ban of flight has not yet lifted.

It is unclear what is the true motives of the mutineers, but a diplomatic source suggested Sunday's mutiny was aimed at disrupting the meeting between Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana to be held in the Seychelles on Wednesday.

Madagascar is in political crisis since March 2009, because of a stalemate between Ravalomanana, who was then president, and Andry Rajoelina, who was mayor of the capital. Ravalomanana had to resign in March 2009 and Rajoelina took the power. Days after, Ravalomanana fled out to South Africa.

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