Thursday, June 11, 2009

Madagascar Military Option Needs Study, Says Ousted President Ravalomanana

JOHANNESBURG 10 June 2009 Sapa-AFP


Ousted Madagascar president Marc Ravalomanana on Wednesday said
all options, including military intervention, should be considered
to restore democracy to the African island.

"More needs to be done to restore law and democracy, and that
includes examining all options, including military intervention,"
he said in a statement from Johannesburg.

The ousted leader, who is in exile in South Africa, did not
specify details about the nature of the military intervention.

On Monday, Africa's largest trading bloc, COMESA, raised the
possibility of military action to restore democracy in Madagascar.

Ravalomanana was toppled in March by opposition leader Andry
Rajoelina following months of street protests.

Ravalomanana said he was committed to finding a peaceful
solution through dialogue, but that he was troubled by reports of
human rights violations in Madagascar.

"Numerous political prisoners remain jailed, violence is still
being used as a weapon to terrorise the people of Madagascar, and
there are reports of new abuses against Malagasy people that occur
each day.

"I will not stand by and continue to let an illegal regime
brutalise the Malagasy people," he added.

COMESA said in a final communique after a summit in Zimbabwe
that it supported "efforts to restore constitutional order in
Madagascar by examining all options, including the possibility of
military intervention."

Last week, Ravalomanana was sentenced in absentia by a
Madagascar court to four years in jail and fined 70 million dollars
in damages for abuse of office over the purchase of a presidential

The sentence handed down to the former president came less than
two weeks after news emerged of a tentative deal that could have
seen the two foes face off in a new election.

Ravalomanana swept into power in 2002 on a wave of public
support and backing from influential churches and won presidential
elections in 2006.

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