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from Africa News blog:

Madagascar: How bad can it get?

How bad can things get in Madagascar? Dissident soldiers said they had deployed tanks in the capital on Friday and the president urged the population to repel the mutineers.

In a worst case scenario, tanks in Antananarivo could lead to battles between the police and the presidential guard -- who remain loyal to President Marc Ravalomanana -- against mutinous troops and members of the military police.

The mutineers insist they have no plans to attack the presidential palace, that they are not taking orders from opposition leader Andry Rajoelina, and that they are only responding to public calls to restore law and order.

Rumours have been rife in the city all week that Ravalomanana might call in hundreds of mercenaries, perhaps from South Africa, to defend him now that parts of the armed forces no longer listen to him. The mutineers said they had deployed tanks specifically to "intercept" any private mercenary forces that tried to enter the capital.