Ravalomanana denies mutiny

2010-05-22 14:10

Johannesburg - Madagascar's ousted president Marc Ravalomanana on Saturday denied fomenting a deadly mutiny this week in the capital Antananarivo.

"Some confusion could mislead, or cause wrong interpretations, especially for key leaders of the international community," his spokesperson Guy Rivo Randrianarisoa said in a statement.

"We would therefore clarify that the name Ravalomanana uttered during the violent clash that unfolded... in Antananarivo on Thursday, May 20, 2010, is not referring to President Marc Ravalomanana, but to a man with the same last name, Colonel Richard Ravalomanana."

Two people died on Thursday in a gunbattle between mutineers from the gendarmerie's elite intervention unit and forces loyal to Andry Rajoelina, who seized power last year with the military's blessing.

The statement said that Colonel Ravalomanana led the forces that clashed with the mutineers.

Rajoelina's office has accused the ousted president, now living in exile in South Africa, of seeking to sow discord between Madagascar's military leadership and the rank-and-file.

Since seizing power, the 35-year-old Rajoelina - a former disc jockey and mayor of Antananarivo - has failed to secure international support and is increasingly struggling to retain the army's backing.

Several mediation attempts have failed to resolve the crisis.