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Madagascar Coup Attempt Fails

Army officers give themselves up without bloodshed after trying to seize power. Special police officers outside the airport in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on Saturday. Mutinuous army officers inside later gave themselves up without bloodshed. Photograph: Themba Hadebe/AP

An attempted coup on Madagascar has been defused without bloodshed, it was revealed this weekend. Camille Vital, the prime minister, told reporters on Saturday that 16 army officers had surrendered, ending an impasse that began on Wednesday when the soldiers declared they were taking over from Andry Rajoelina.

Rajoelina, the head of state, had been given the military's support when he toppled an elected president in March last year after months of violent protest.

On Saturday, reporters saw hundreds of soldiers loyal to Rajoelina converge on a base near the airport at Antananarivo, the capital, where the mutineers were holed up. Officials had said talks were planned, but shots could be heard inside the base.

Colonel Julien Ravelomihary, a member of the high transitional authority set up after Rajoelina took power, told reporters that the mutineers were ready to hand themselves over, but some junior officers had initially resisted. Vital said that those who surrendered would face trial. Earlier, police had fired teargas to break up a crowd of several hundred anti-Rajoelina demonstrators in central Antananarivo.

Since Madagascar gained independence from France in 1960, soldiers have repeatedly meddled in politics.

Tags:Madagascar coup attempt fails, Madagascar Coup Attempt Fails
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