African Union troops arrive on Comoros island

A fresh batch of African Union (AU) troops arrived on the Comoros island of Moheli on Friday, joining Comoran forces massed for a military offensive to retake the rebel island of Anjouan.

The Indian Ocean archipelago — between Madagascar and Mozambique — did not recognise the re-election of Anjouan leader Colonel Mohamed Bacar in June 2007 and a tense stand-off is now poised to turn into an AU-backed invasion of the island.

A total of 150 Tanzanian soldiers landed early on Friday in the port town of Fomboni in Moheli, the smallest of the three islands.

A Comoros military source said: ”More African soldiers are due to arrive this afternoon.”

The first AU detachment consisting of 200 Sudanese and 150 Tanzanian troops landed here on Thursday.

Senegalese troops are also expected while the fourth African country to take part in the AU-sponsored operation is Libya, which has provided transport assistance.

More than 1 000 African troops are expected to take part in the operation, supporting about 400 Comoran troops already in Moheli.

The fractious archipelago has survived 19 coups or coup attempts since it acquired independence from France in 1975.

The operation to remove Bacar from Anjouan has received broad support from the African Union, whose other military ventures on the continent are hitting many roadblocks. – AFP



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