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Tension escalates after Madagascar mutiny

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Tension escalates after Madagascar mutiny

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In Madagascar, President Marc Ravalomanana has vowed to fight to the death if rebel soldiers try to drive him from power.

It comes after dissident officers mutinied and threw their support behind opposition leader Andry Rajoelina. Rajoelina told supporters: “We have vowed to restore calm to our country. We don’t want a situation where one person, Mr Marc Ravalomanana, prolongs this conflict in our country which is frankly on the edge of the abyss.” The political power struggle has triggered waves of violent protests on the Indian Ocean island. At least 135 people are thought to have died since January. Shortly after the rebel officers said they were backing Rajoelina, bursts of gunfire were heard and explosions rocked the capital as tanks burst into the grounds of a presidential palace. The opposition leader has denied claims that a military coup is underway and claims to have been given a mandate to lead a transitional government.