Non-Essential US Staff Ordered Out of Madagascar

WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department on Tuesday ordered all
nonessential staff at the U.S. Embassy in Madagascar and the
families of all American personnel there to leave the country due
to the uncertain security situation after the ouster of the Indian
Ocean island's president.

In a travel warning, the department said it had taken the step
because of unrest related to the resignation of Madagascar's
president and his hand-over to the military of his command.

"While American citizens have not been targeted to date, the
Department of State has ordered the departure of non-emergency
personnel and family members at the U.S. Embassy in Antananarivo
due to the ongoing unrest and security concerns," it said.

Earlier Tuesday, Madagascar's President Marc Ravalomanana ceded
power after weeks of turmoil on the island as his opposition rival
took control of a presidential palace and paraded through the
capital surrounded by armed soldiers and an adoring crowd.

On Monday, the Peace Corps announced it had suspended its
programs in Madagascar and was evacuating its 112 volunteers who
had been working there.

The State Department move makes compulsory a decision made last
week to allow nonessential U.S. Embassy personnel and families to
leave Madagascar voluntarily at government expense.

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