Army officers claim coup d’etat during constitutional referendum in MadagascarNovember 18th, 2010 - 12:08 am ICT by BNO News
ANTANANARIVO, MADAGASCAR (BNO NEWS) — Senior Army officers on Wednesday claimed to have executed a successful coup d’etat as a constitutional referendum is underway in Madagascar, local media reported.
Through a statement, Colonel Charles Andrianasoavina said he and 20 other high-ranking officers took over the island nation by removing President Andre Rajoelina and setting a military directorate instead.
The alleged coup d’etat came in the midst of a constitutional referendum. Citizens of Madagascar were voting to accept or reject a new constitution that calls for keeping Rajoelina in power indefinitely.
Col. Andrianasoavina was one of the main actors in last March’s coup that resulted in Rajoelina seizing control of Madagascar. Andrianasoavina said his faction planned to seize the presidential palace and the capital’s airport.
The Madagascar’s government said that there was not coup underway and remarked that the dissident group scattered leaflets near the Bani military base. In addition, civilian groups set some roadblocks using tires on fire.
In response, security forces were deployed to the area and dispersed the protesters using tear gas and gunshots into the air. At about 6:30 p.m. local time, the order was restored and the traffic to the airport reopened. Law enforcement agents are inspecting the vehicles that pass by in the area.
Prime Minister Camille Vital read a statement of President Rajoelina calling Malagasies to keep calm and that the alleged coup was an attempt to disrupt the referendum. Rajoelina assured that authorities would take necessary measures to maintain order.
Currently, there are no signs of unrest in Antananarivo or in other areas of the Indian Ocean island nation. Reports indicate that outside the presidential palace everything is as usual and calm.
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