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Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 19:03 GMT 20:03 UK
Senegal pushes for Madagascar peace
The remains of a bridge near Fianarantsoa
Bridges leading to the capital have been blown up
The President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, has invited Madagascar's two rival leaders to his country for urgent peace talks.

Mr Wade said there was a danger that Madagascar's incumbent President, Didier Ratsiraka, and his rival Marc Ravalomanana could destroy their country.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade
Wade wants to avert a civil war
Madagascar has been in turmoil since Mr Ravalomanana, the opposition candidate in presidential elections in December, disputed the results of the poll and declared himself the winner.

Mr Ratsiraka says Mr Ravalomanana did not win outright and there should be a run-off.

Supporters of Mr Ratsiraka based in the port city of Tamatave have imposed an economic blockade on the capital, Antananarivo, which is controlled by Mr Ravalomanana.

This has led to shortages of fuel and essential commodities in Antananarivo.

Legal victory

Earlier on Wednesday, Madagascar's supreme court in Madagascar ruled that the appointment of a legal panel which endorsed the disputed election results was tainted with irregularities.

The BBC Southern Africa correspondent, Barnaby Phillips, says the ruling appears to be a victory for Mr Ravalomanana.

Marc Ravalomanana
Ravalomanana controls the capital
Meanwhile, a man connected to the government of President Ratsiraka has died following his arrest by supporters of Mr Ravalomanana.

The man, a former policeman named Gaby Rolland Rajaonarivelo, was among three people picked up on Tuesday in Antananarivo.

All three had been accused by the self-proclaimed government of plotting to kidnap Mr Ravalomanana's prime minister, Jacques Sylla.

The conflict between Madagascar's two rival presidents has turned increasingly violent in recent days.

On Monday, one person was killed and several others wounded during a shooting incident in Antananarivo between supporters of Mr Ravalomanana and troops loyal to Mr Ratsiraka.

The shooting occurred outside the home of Gerard Andrialemirovason, a senior aide to President Ratsiraka.

The BBC's Johnny Donovan
"He was a man with very close associations with the President"
See also:

10 Apr 02 | Africa
Detained Madagascar suspect dies
05 Apr 02 | Africa
Madagascar 'at war'
05 Mar 02 | Africa
Madagascar 'rival capital' named
04 Mar 02 | Africa
Madagascar army 'switches sides'
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