Rival regimes fight over Comoros

Mail & Guardian Reporter

ALTHOUGH the Comoros Islands have reopened for South African holiday-makers in the wake of Bob Denard’s abortive coup in October, the “Perfume Isles” are still being battered by other political storms.

Political leaders on Moheli Island, one of the largest in the Comoros complex, last weekend announced they no longer recognise two “governments” that are currently fighting to rule the archipelago in the wake of Denard’s

The Indian Ocean Newsletter reports from Paris that an interim administration set up by Prime Minister Mohamed Caabi El Yachroutu after the coup is now being challenged by a “counter- administration” set up with Said Ali Mohamed as a rival prime minister.

The Moheli islanders, disgruntled with the state of confusion, are reported to have called for a campaign of civil disobedience, chased the Moroni-appointed governor off the isle, and set up a citizens’ committee to run their administration.

A petition has been circulated on neighbouring Anjouan Island calling for secession from the Comoros Islands and reunion with France as an overseas territory—- as is the case with Mayotte Island.

The petition is based on a popular perception that ruling elites on the island of Grande Comoros have imposed a form of political and economic hegemony over the archipelago.

Meanwhile, the capital Moroni continues to be torn by the two rival administrations, each claiming to be legal.

Government rivals “obeyed a call from local bigwigs to organise a political meeting on November 20 calling for the El Yachroutu government to resign. The meeting scheduled in the capital’s main square was banned by the government,” says the latest edition of the Indian Ocean Newsletter.

The volatile political climate has raised doubts about plans to hold a presidential election on the islands in January.

World Leisure Holidays, a tour company which operates hotels in the Comoros, was unavailable for comment on whether the latest developments on the islands would affect


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