Madagascar poll annulled

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The Independent Online

The Madagascar Supreme Court has annulled the country's disputed presidential election result that triggered three months of violent unrest.

The island has been in turmoil since the opposition leader, Marc Ravalomanana, declared himself president, saying he was the winner of an election held on 16 December. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ordered a recount.

As the violence continued on Tuesday, an army general who supported embattled former ruler Didier Ratsiraka was shot dead in hospital, hours after being wounded by "friendly fire" during a firefight near Fianarantsoa, Madagascar's second largest city.

General Raymond Andrianaivo was hit seven times in the head after three masked men entered the Fianarantsoa hospital on Tuesday night.

Ravalomanana supporters seized control of the capital, Antananarivo, and for several days have besieged the governor's office in Fianarantsoa;, the town is under the control of forces loyal to Mr Ratsiraka.

Government reinforcements arrived at Fianarantsoa on Tuesday morning from the southern town of Tulear, and troops from the governor's office were sent to escort them.

But when the two groups met, they mistook each other for opposition supporters and opened fire. Two women bystanders, aged 16 and 31, were killed in the crossfire; General Andrianaivo was hit in the stomach and leg. (AP)