News24

Madagascar mutineers shoot officer

2012-07-22 18:29

Antananarivo - Madagascar's defence ministry says a group of mutinous soldiers has taken over a military camp near the island-nation's main airport and shot an army officer sent in to negotiate their surrender.

The ministry said it was not immediately clear whether the officer was still alive.

Government soldiers surrounded the base and appeared to attack the mutineers by Sunday afternoon. An Associated Press reporter at the site heard exchanges of gunfire.

Most flights in and out of Antananarivo's airport were cancelled.

The ministry says the mutiny is led by a bodyguard of former Defence Minister Noel Rakotonandrasana, who is in jail since taking part in a 2010 mutiny.

Madagascar has been shaken by political turmoil and violence since opposition leader Andry Rajoelina ousted President Marc Ravalomanana in 2009. Rajoelina now leads a unity government charged with preparing for elections next year.