Madagascan opposition radio silenced

2012-07-24 12:21
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Antananarivo - Opposition radio Free FM has stopped broadcasting due to intimidation by Madagascar's military in the wake of a weekend mutiny, station manager Lalatiana Rakotondrazafy told AFP on Tuesday.

"We won't resume broadcasting until I am sure that there will be no more intimidation," she told AFP.

Soldiers first came to the station on Sunday morning, as the mutiny was unfolding at a military base near the island nation's main airport, she said.

They cut the electricity, knocking Free FM off the airwaves for more than seven hours, she said.

But then soldiers appeared on the street outside the station, so Rakotondrazafy decided for the staff to gather their materials and leave. She said soldiers later seized a computer screen and a voltage regulator.

During the mutiny, Free FM broadcast comments from a soldier who declared a coup was underway, drawing a stern warning from the communications ministry of possible legal action.

Three people, including the leader of the mutineers, were killed on Sunday when soldiers and paramilitary police retook control of the military camp near the airport.

The incident came ahead of talks on Wednesday in Seychelles between the island's current ruler Andry Rajoelina and the ousted president Marc Ravalomanana, who was ousted from power in 2009 by the army and weeks of street protests.

The military, which often meddles in Madagascar's politics, backed Rajoelina's rise but the takeover left the nation isolated internationally as western donors froze aid and African countries suspended the country from regional bodies.

Read more on:    marc ravalomanana  |  andry rajoelina  |  madagascar  |  southern africa

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