Potential Hot Spots: Comoros Islands


: Items About Areas That Could Break Out Into War

April 1, 2008: African Union troops in the Comoros Islands remain on alert against potential violence on the island of Anjouan. Lailizamane Abdou Cheik, the president of Anjouan's court of appeal, was sworn in as an interim president on March 31st. There will be new elections in a few months.

On March 25, 450 African Union soldiers and troops from the Comoros Islands "rescued" Anjouan, which had been taken over by rebels led by Mohamed Bacar (a former Comoran security policeman). The African Union described the "joint force" assault as the organization's "first military offensive." The AU has a peacekeeping force in the perennially unstable former French colony. The peacekeeping contingent has troops from Tanzania and Sudan. Tanzanian and Sudanese troops took part in the operation. Bacar had been running an "outlaw" regime since June 2007 when his "re-election" as president of Anjouan was declared invalid by both the governments of the Comoros Islands and the African Union. Bacar and at least 20 of his supporters escaped from Anjouan and landed on the French island of Mayotte. From Mayotte they were taken to Reunion Island where French authorities placed Bacar "under detention." Bacar is apparently seeking asylum in France.


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