Three people were killed during a standoff in Madagascar on Sunday. It began after a large military mutiny unfurled over the weekend at a military barracks, ending in a bloody standoff. The dissident soldiers in charge of the mutiny had taken over an army barracks near the nation’s main airport but did not make it clear what their motives or desires were, the BBC reports. All flights in and out of the airport were cancelled or postponed during the uprising.
Among those killed was the leader of the mutiny, Corporal Koto Mainty, as well as a mediator that the national army sent in to try and deescalate the situation. Army officials were able to recapture the army barracks after many a series of tense hours and the deaths of both the mediator and the leader of the mutiny.
Army spokesperson, Colonel Philibert Ratovonirina, stated to the BBC regarding the unknown motives of the violent mutiny:
We don’t know precisely what the mutineers wanted. It seems there was a statement broadcast on Free FM radio saying that there was no government left, that it had been dissolved and it was no longer in charge of running the country…But we don’t know if that statement was really made by the mutineers. If it did come from the mutineers, it would appear this might be a coup attempt.
Some analysts have suggested that the mutiny was staged in order to disrupt talks between current president Andry Rajoelina and exiled president Marc Ravalomanana, who was ousted from power in 2009. The island nation has remained unstable since Rajoelina took over from Ravalomanana, who is on permanent exile in South Africa.
Rajoelina claims that this mutiny serves as the third attempt to strip power from his government since 2009, ABC News states. President Rajoelina still plans to meet with the exiled president Ravalomanana in the Seychelles this week in order to discuss possible options for stabilizing the country. The two leaders are still on tense and uncertain terms since the overthrow of the old government.
Elections are expected to occur next year, although the lack of stability in the country has called into question the current unity government and the ability of the current president to retain stable power in the area. Former president Ravalomanana has attempted to return to Madagascar multiple times but has been repeatedly barred from returning home. He was charged last year in absentia by a tribunal for murder charges associated with the toppling of his government in 2009.
Photo Credit: Jialiang Gao