Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Gun battle erupts between rival Madagascar forces

A gun battle broke out Thursday in central Antananarivo between rival Madagascan security forces, with at least one civilian wounded in the crossfire, an Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondent reported.

It was not immediately clear whether there was any political dimension to the clash, which erupted as political players on the Indian Ocean island struggled to find a way out of a crisis sparked by a March 2009 coup.

The shooting broke out when army and gendarmerie units confronted members of the gendarmerie’s elite intervention unit (FIGN), who began a protest against their superiors on Wednesday.

At least one civilian was wounded as a result of the exchange of fire and evacuated by the Red Cross, an AFP correspondent reported.

“We are currently securing the area because there were rumours they [the mutineers] would take to the streets,” Colonel Richard Ravalomanana, who is leading the military operation, told AFP.

“We never meant to attack but they started opening fire on us. We only retaliated for half an hour when we decided to move towards their base,” he said. “We’re moving slowly, we have to be wary of collateral damage.”

The army commander said he estimated the total number of rebel FIGN members did not top 30.

The rebel security forces set up mobile checkpoints around their base at Fort Duchesne on Wednesday.

Thursday’s fighting started at about 7.45am GMT and sporadic gunfire could still be heard an hour later.

The vast island state has been unstable since a March 2009 coup led by Andry Rajoelina, a 35-year-old former disc jockey who ousted president Marc Ravalomanana with the army’s support.

The young leader has since failed to secure international backing and left the country in a state of institutional limbo.

International mediation efforts involving Ravalomanana and two other former presidents have so far failed.

The crisis has left Rajoelina increasingly isolated on the international scene as well as domestically, with the army increasingly reluctant to back him. — Sapa-AFP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

The South African Bone Marrow Registry celebrates 30 years of...

‘It’s not drilling into bones!’: Misconceptions keep donors away, says SABMR, but a match outside of a patient’s family is a needle in a haystack

R500-million Covid-19 Gauteng hospital contract was irregularly awarded — SIU

The bank accounts of Pro Service Consulting and Thenga Holdings have been frozen

More top stories

With its industrial base decimated, SA’s economy needs real change...

Speaking at a book launch on Tuesday, the finance minister said a focus on manufacturing is critical to stem the country’s deepening unemployment crisis

Defence team cagey about Zuma’s health after state advised he...

The former president was absent from court, but his counsel argued that health matters be left aside, so as to hear his case for the removal of Billy Downer

The South African Bone Marrow Registry celebrates 30 years of...

‘It’s not drilling into bones!’: Misconceptions keep donors away, says SABMR, but a match outside of a patient’s family is a needle in a haystack

New clean fuel standards could be the end of refineries...

In the absence of mechanisms to recoup investment into cleaner fuels, refineries may be faced with tough decisions

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…