She said the mutiny was a result of an internal dispute within the army.

Political unrest

The uprising comes amid political unrest in which at least 98 people have been killed.

Andry Rajoelina, the opposition leader, has called a series of anti-government demonstrations since January 26 and demanded that Marc Ravalomanana, the president, steps down.

Rajoelina is in hiding after security forces attempted to arrest him and authorities intensified a crackdown on his movement.

"I am now hiding in a safe location where I cannot be attacked... Until the dust settles, I can no longer physically appear in front of my supporters," he told AFP without specifying whether he was still in the capital Antananarivo or even in the country.

The former mayor of Antananarivo has vowed to oust Ravalomanana, who he describes as a dictator starving his people.

The United Nations and African Union have dispatched envoys in a bid to defuse the political crisis in the east African island nation.