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Military 'seizes power' in Madagascar

Military 'seizes power' in Madagascar
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A group of military officers in Madagascar on Wednesday claimed they have seized power as the country voted on constitutional reform.

Madagascar’s top brass convened an emergency meeting after a 20-strong group of senior officers said they had dissolved government institutions and formed a military committee.

“If there is a mutiny, we have to intervene. We cannot negotiate with someone who mutinies,” Military Police General Andrianazary said.

The meeting in the Prime Minister’s office followed a statement by Colonel Charles Andrianasoavina that a “military council for the welfare of the people” had been formed to run the country that is voting on a new constitution.

Colonel Andrianasoavina was one of the main backers of President Andry Rajoelina’s power-grab in March last year.

The 36-year-old former DJ toppled Marc Ravalomanana with the support of the military.

Rajoelina scrapped the old constitution after ousting unpopular leader Ravalomanana with military backing, creating turmoil on the island targeted by foreign investors for its oil, nickel, cobalt and uranium deposits.

Voters on the world’s fourth largest island started casting their ballots on Rajoelina’s constitutional reforms at more than 18,000 polling stations.

The three main opposition parties, each headed by a former president, are boycotting the vote.