Potential Hot Spots: June 14, 2002

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The pro-Ravalomanana (Rav) forces had a successful week. The Ravs occupied the port of Mahajanga (northwest Madagascar), the port of Toliara (southwest) and the port of Vohemar (northeast). All sources reported that there was little or no combat involved as the Rav forces moved through roadblock positions and secured the seaports. At the key Betsiboka River bridge (a roadblock position enroute to Mahajanga), the Rav forces reported they fired several mortar shells and the Ratsiraka (Rat) militia fled from the position without fighting. That action took place on June 12. Also on June 12, press sources reported a firefight on the Madagascan island of Nosy Be (a small island off the northwest coast). A Ratsiraka force attacked Rav loyalists in the town of Andoany. In Vohemar, the pro-Rat militia robbed, then blew up, two banks before abandoning the port. Taking these seaports busts the blockade the Ratsiraka forces had imposed on the pro-Rav interior of the island. On the political front, Didier Ratsiraka left Madagascar for Paris (June 14). Ravalomanana backers said that Ratsiraka was fleeing the island. Ratsiraka denied the charge. (Austin Bay)

 

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