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Madagascar: More reports President Ravalomanana has fled

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, Breaking News, Digital Activism, Politics, Protest

Update (19:09 GMT): Although there are still rumors that President Ravalomanana has left the country, others report the rumors are false.   Daniel Austin [1] twitters, “All indications from reliable sources suggest that the rumour Ravalomanana has fled Madagascar is false.”  Thierry Ratsizehena [2] twitters the government will declare martial law.  The media have stopped broadcasting and the facts remain unclear.  GV will continue updating as more information becomes available.

Since all television and radio stations have ceased broadcasting, the blogosphere is trying as well as it can to keep up with the fast degenerating situation with twitters [3] and posts.

One prominent Malagasy website, Sobika.com [4], posts a timeline of events, among which are noted :

- 18h35 : Force One 2 a décollé à 17H50
– 17H59 : le PM a annulé sa déclaration. Des sources confirment la démission de plusieurs membres.
– 17H50 : rumeur de démission du gouvernement. A prendre au conditionnel faute de confirmation par les médias
– 16H30 Le PM devrait faire une déclaration dans les prochaines minutes. Marc Ravalomanana “introuvable”

- 18h35 : Force One 2 (note of the author: Ravalomanana's airplane purchased a few weeks ago) took off at 17h50
– 17h59 : The Prime Minister cancelled his speech. Sources confirm that many members of the government have quit.
– 17h50 : rumors say the government is quitting. No confirmation by medias so remains to be confirmed.
– 16h30 : The Prime Minister is to announce something in a few minutes. Marc Ravalomanana “cannot to be found”

The last twitters [5]and blog posts say that Ravalomanana and family have fled Madagascar by plane.

Madagascar writes :

“Les rumeurs donnent Marc Ravalomanana “introuvable”. Son Premier Ministre serait à Toamasina, et ces mêmes rumeurs font état du blocage au sol de l'avion présidentiel par des officiels rebelles. Marc Ravalomanana chercherait à rejoindre Toamasina par hélicoptère.
D'autres rumeurs indiquent la présence de mercenaires congolais, à Antsiranana et/ou à Antananarivo pour protéger le Président.

Visiblement, l'armée refuse d'intervenir. A noter que les seuls coups de feu on été donnés pour protéger la station télévisée du Président (MBS). A noter que la foule n'a pas reculé, et que les militaires ont fui face à la foule.”

“Rumors say Marc Ravalomanana is not to be found. His Prime Minister is said to be in Toamasina, and the same rumors claim the presidential plane is blocked on the ground by rebel soldiers. According to these rumors, Marc Ravalomanana is looking to fly to Toamasina by helicopter.

Other rumors point to the presence of Congolese mercenaries in Antsiranana and or Antananarivo to protect the President.

Obviously, the Malagasy army does not want to intervene. One notes that the only time that shots were fired was to protect the radio station of the President (MBS) (note of the author: the MBS radio station was set on fire and looted). The people did not step back and the soldiers fled faced to them.”

Bloggers lament the deaths, destruction and the looting. They also bemoan the uncertainties that await with the anarchy that reigns.

Leboda [6]says :

“Very ilay maha-malagasy : mandady rariny, miara-midinika, mandala ny fihavanana, mitandro ny aina, …..”

“We have lost our Malagasy values : looking for justice, dialogue, fihavanana, protecting life….”

As2Coeur [7]is saddened by the violence:

“C’est comme un mauvais film qui ne cesse de tourner et de retourner sur le projecteur malgache. La population en furie se met à tout détruire sur son passage, des jeunes en colère à cause de la misère qui se révoltent. Le but du jeu : améliorer la vie des malgaches disent-ils.

Dites ce que vous voulez car moi je ne suis pas convaincu que ce qui s’est passé aujourd’hui améliorera la vie de la population malgache.

J’adhère à la lutte pour la démocratie, c’est une cause bien noble mais je suis contre la violence quelque soit ses formes. Deux personnes furent tuées et une grièvement bléssés lors de l’assaut de la MBS, ce sont des militants qui étaient en première ligne…

Quand tous cela va-t-il finir ?”

“This is like a bad movie which keeps rerunning on the malagasy projector. The furious population detroys everything on its way, enraged youth revolt because of their poverty. The goal : a better life for Malagasies they say. Say what you want but I am not convinced that what happened today will enhance the quality of life of Malagasies.

I am for democracy, a noble cause, but I am against violence in all its forms. Two people died today and one was seriously injured during the MBS attack, those were militants that stood in first line… When will all this end?”

Tomavana [8]cautions against the spread of rumors in times like these:

“Ireo vaovao hafa toy ny poa-basy, ireo olon-tsotra namoy ny ainy, ny tranon’ny Praiministra may sy mpanao politika hafa na koa ny fiomankomanan’ny fiaramanidin’ny filoham-pirenena hanainga … dia samy tokony iandrasana fanamarinana daholo aloha satria mivoatra malaky dia malaky ny raharaha … ary be ny tsaho amin’ny fotoana toy itony.”

“News such as gun shots, civilians losing their lives, the fire at the Prime Minister's and other politicians'houses, the President's plane getting ready to leave… all these should be confirmed first as the situation develops very quickly… and situations like these tend to favor spreading of rumors.”