African News

Madagascar general urges overthrow

20 November 2006 at 07:55 | 697 views

By Johnny Hogg
BBC News, Antananarivo

An army general in Madagascar has declared military rule in the country.

General Fidy said the move, which comes ahead of a presidential election, was in response to the "illegitimacy" of Marc Ravalomanana’s presidency.

So far there has been no official reaction from the authorities, although sources in the president’s office were playing down the incident.

A plane carrying Mr Ravalomanana(photo) home from Europe was diverted after shooting broke out near the capital’s airport.

There are unconfirmed reports that one government soldier was shot and killed in the shooting outside a military base, and local people told the BBC that they had heard gunfire early on Saturday.

Calls for support

General Fidy announced on Friday that the army was assuming control of the country.

He called for the support of the Malagas military in setting up a transitional government.

He then moved to a military base near the international airport in Antananarivo.

General Fidy had attempted to run as a candidate in the presidential election, which is set for 3 December, but his candidature was refused.

It is unclear exactly where the general is, although sources say he has left the military base.

President Ravalomanana’s plane was diverted to the west coast town of Mahajanga.