Potential Hot Spots: July 5, 2002


Madagascan and French sources report Didier Ratsiraka has left Madagascar. A plane carrying Ratsiraka, his family, and several close supporters left Toamasina for the Seychelles Islands. Some reports say a second plane also left carrying Ratsiraka supporters, baggage, and weaponry. Another two planes hauling Ratsiraka aides later flew from Madagascar to Mauritius. Sources said it appears Ratsirakas leaving for good, and Ratsiraka supporters on the island indicate this is the case. It looks as if the RATs are indeed abandoning the island. Why quit now? France pulled the political plug on July 3. The French recognition of Marc Ravalomanana's government left Ratsiraka without any international support. Of course, Ravalomanana was winning the war on the ground as well as deftly handling the political battles. The fall of Antsiranana meant pro-RAV forces could concentrate on Toamasina. A Ravalomanana spokesman, however, says it isnt over. AFP quoted one Ravalomanana aide as saying "He (Ratsiraka) is a terrorist. People like him should be jailed to set an example to African nations." (Austin Bay)


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