The constitutional referendum is now over. The counting should also be finished in each polling station throughout Madagascar (the official closing time is 06.00pm Madagascar time).
The global progress of yesterday’s ballot was normal and quite even if voters and non voters all felt a strong feeling of tension with the very visible presence of heavily armed security forces in each district of Antananarivo. This feeling turned up into fear when at noon high ranked military officers made a declaration that they have taken over the power and established a military administration.
Military coup again ….
Yesterday around 01.00pm at the “messe de la garnison”, BANI military camp of Ivato (suburb of Antananarivo), 18 high ranked officers from the Army, the Gendarmerie and the Police released a communiqué in which they declared that the HAT was dissolved and replaced by a new military committee which has been set up to run the country, that general secretaries had to run their respective ministries instead of ministers, and that all the state organs were under their control. They also invited the other officers to join them and commanded to all soldiers to go back and stay in their camps of origin.
According to the Lieutenant Colonel Charles Andrianasoavina, 50 officers and three military camps have already joined them: BANI (Air Sea Base of Ivato) – the first RFI (commando forces based in Ivato) – the civil protection corps. “We will not move back this time” Lieutenant Colonel Charles Andrianasoavina firmly said.
The officers behind this coup attempt are: the former minister of defence (under Andry Rajoelina’s administration) General Noel Rakotonandrasana and former head of the CAPSAT camp (under Marc Ravalomanana’s administration), the former director of the presidential guard (under Marc Ravalomanana’s administration) General Raoelina Jean Heriniaina (he is among those who were charged of taking part into the massacre of Ambotsirohitra on February 07th, 2009), the Colonel Raberanto, the Colonel Coutiti Assolent (sentenced to imprisonment due to the atrocities that he committed during the 2002 crisis against civilians in Antsiranana, he was later freed by Andry Rajoelina on 2009), the Colonel Ramboasalama, the Colonel Ramilijaona, the Colonel Ravoavahy, the Colonel Randriamihaotra, the Colonel Randrenja Mahaleo, the Police Captain Mbinina (he served as member of the presidential guard under Marc Ravalomanana’s regime, he has also been accused of participating into the bloodshed of February 07th, 2009), the head of first RFI Major Roger Luc and the former co-head of the FIS and current in charge of the mining brigade (under Andry Rajoelina’s regime) Lieutenant Colonel Charles Andrianasoavina.
Clashes between civilians and Security Forces
Just after this declaration, thousands of people rushed to Ivato to help the rebellious officers. They built barricades and burnt tires in Ivato to ban the access of the BANI camp. Security Forces known as the famous EMMO-REG (joint security corps: militaries – gendarmes – policemen) made them all scatter with tear gas intensive shootings. Eyewitnesses reported that they were particularly violent.
Negotiations and Kidnapping
Yesterday around 05.00pm, the Colonel Richard Ravalomanana, head of the EMMO-REG came in the BANI camp to negotiate an “amicable settlement” of the crisis. Till now, he did not come out of the camp. A journalist, Faniry, was also detained in the camp. At the time I am typing this post, the negotiations are still on and the BANI camp is entirely surrounded by the EMMO-REG. The whole district of Ivato has become a no man’s land.
Reaction of the Prime Minister
The Prime Minister Camille Vital has declared that this coup attempt was made on purpose to instaure a global climate of panic, uncertainty and fear throughout Madagascar. “It is just the senseless initiative from 18 people. The Malagasy Army remains united” He said. “We will take the appropriate measures to resolve this problem’ He added. If this coup attempt did not affect the Malagasy Army, why did he specifically reminded to the attention of all Malagasy militaries and Gendarmes the resolutions of the Military assizes in Ivato on April 26 and 27, 2009?
Reaction of Andry Rajoelina
He confirmed that he would not step down and he was not afraid of threats.
We are now all waiting …