AFRICA/MADAGASCAR - Are authorities using force against coup leaders? - Eyewitness Testimony
Antananarivo (Agenzia Fides) – Malagasy authorities have called on civilians who are near the barracks on the outskirts of Antananarivo, where the military coup is barricaded (see Fides 18/11/2010), to leave the area. "There seems to be force action being prepared to contrast the coup leaders," Fides has been told by Fr. Luca Treglia, Director of Radio Don Bosco, whose headquarters is located about 150 meters from the barracks of the coup leaders. "I arrived at the radio station around 5:30 am local time, and I noticed that there were dozens of trucks with armed soldiers nearby. Later, the authorities called on civilians (mostly family members of military personnel) inside and around the Bani and RFI barracks to leave the area."
"It is assumed that they are preparing an assault on the coup, although negotiations seem to continue for a bloodless solution. Yesterday, the military coup - which must be about twenty - had issued a statement which said that they do not want bloodshed, but reiterated their demands: removal from office of Ministers and their own assumption administrative powers," says Fr. Luca.
The group of rebel military seems rather mixed. "They are mostly officers. Some are sympathizers of the President of Transition, Andry Rajoelina," says Fr. Lucas. "There is also a colonel accused of serious crimes at the time of President Ratsiraka, who was imprisoned at the time of President Ravalomanana and freed by Rajoelina. There were also widespread rumors that some of the rebel soldiers have deserted,” continued the Director of Radio Don Bosco.
In political news, today, November 19, the second session of the House and Senate is scheduled to approve the Finance Act 2011, while operations continue to count the votes of the constitutional referendum of November 17. "According to partial data, released at 10 am local time, the turnout was 49.68%. The “yes” vote on the new Constitution leads with 70.39% of the vote versus the 29.61% “no” vote. These figures apply to 53% of the ballots counted so far," concluded Fr. Luca. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 19/11/2010)
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