Nineteen Die In Madagascar After Eating Turtle

Madagascar map.

 

Nineteen people, nine of them children, have died from food poisoning in Madagascar after eating a turtle, sources said Thursday.

Thirty-four people were hospitalised on Monday in Vatomandry, in the east of the island, after eating the protected species, the Health and Food Safety Control Agency said.

Ten of them died, it said.

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Another nine people, all of them children, died at home after eating meat from the same turtle, region’s governor said.

Health authorities have warned against eating turtles, as well two dozen species of fish, which feed on algae that can be toxic during the November-March hot season.

Dozens of food poisonings occur each year in coastal Madagascar and deaths are common.

Sixteen fatalities were recorded in two incidents in the 2017-18 hot season.

AFP

Madagascar Hopes Run-Off Election Ends Five-Year Crisis

Candidates in Madagascar’s run-off presidential election face off on Friday, December 20 for the final round in what voters hope will mark the end of five years of political and economic uncertainty in the Indian Ocean Island nation.

Both candidates failed to score a commanding victory in October’s first round, and voters may not deliver a clear mandate to either Hery Rajaonarimampianina, a former finance minister backed by outgoing President Andry Rajoelina, or Jean Louis Robinson, an ally of Marc Ravalomanana, who was deposed by Rajoelina with the army’s help in 2009.

However, old rifts may persist, extending a crisis begun by the 2009 coup that deterred investors and donors of aid to one of Africa’s poorest nations.

Parliamentary polls also taking place on Friday could lead to one camp holding the presidency and the other controlling the legislature, perhaps forcing them into a power-sharing deal.

Smooth elections could help restore the confidence of mining and other investors, revive the battered tourist industry and re-open the aid taps to a country of 22 million people, of whom 9 out of 10 live on less than 2 US dollars a day.

Candidates took part in a televised debate on Wednesday, December 18, and while many voters say it was informative, they also said that it did not change their decision on who to back come Friday.

“There was already a debate such as this one during the time of Presidents Zafy and Didier Ratsiraka, but this time all the aspects have been addressed,” said Lanto Rakotoarisoa, an Antananarivo resident.

“The leaders say they want national reconciliation but they can’t even agree on just one debate,” said Dizo Henri, another resident of the capital.

Political analyst, Gilbert Raharizatovo, said that none of the candidates have the experience to lead the country out of crisis.

“What Madagascar is looking for now is a man who’s able to organise (things), who has a vision, so that’s called a statesman. In Madagascar, it doesn’t really exist. Why? Simply because, in my opinion, a statesman is a man who’s been trained for long years to recognise what are the ethics of governance, the deontology of governance or the deontology of politics,” he said.

Much hangs on how the loser reacts and whether the army, which had backed Rajoelina, stays in its barracks this time.

In the first round Robinson secured 21 percent of the vote, while Rajaonarimampianina won 16 percent, both far short of the 50 percent plus needed for outright victory.

Gunfire hits military camp in Madagascar capital

Gunfire erupted at a military camp near the airport in Madagascar’s capital on Sunday, the Indian Ocean island’s armed forces minister said.

“A report has already been made by the Chief of Staff but we do not yet know exactly what it is. We are closely monitoring the situation,” Armed Forces Minister General Lucien Rakotoarimasy said.

The commander of Madagascar’s First Regiment of Interventionist Forces (RFI), Colonel Sedera Raharijaona, confirmed there had been shooting, describing it as a “small problem”. Asked whether this was an attempted mutiny by his soldiers, he said: “It’s a bit like that.”

General Richard Ravalomanana, head of the gendarmerie in the capital Antananarivo, said: “Soldiers entered the camp by force this morning at about 5 a.m. (0200 GMT). They now dominate the camp,” he said

Rakotoarimasy said the soldiers’ motivations were unclear.

“We are trying to bring them back to reason.”

The impoverished Indian Ocean island has been wracked by political turmoil over the last three years since the ousting of president Marc Ravalomanana, who has since lived in self-imposed exile in South Africa.

Then-opposition leader Andry Rajoelina led violent street protests against Ravalomanana and eventually seized power in March 2009 with the help of dissident army officers.

The rival leaders are scheduled to meet for reconciliation talks next week in the Seychelles.