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Comoros gears up for attack

Latest update : 2008-03-14

In the Comoran capital Moroni, preparations for a military operation against the nearby island of Anjouan are underway. FRANCE 24's chief correspondent Franck Berruyer met the victims of the breakaway island's ruthless ruler, Colonel Bacar.

It’s the last rehearsals before the final assault. The Comorian forces are ready to recapture the rebel island of Anjouan, currently headed by Colonel Mohamed Bacar.

On Moheli Island, a one-hour-sail from Ajouan, the soldiers are hopeful before the attack although they are poorly armed. They expect little resistance from their opponents.
“I’m certain that most of their troops will flee the area after the first bullet is shot,” Colonel Lieutenant Mohamed Amer Salimou, commander in chief of the Comorian army, told Franck Berruyer, FRANCE 24’s special correspondent in the Comoros. 
On the government benches one can feel the same clear optimism, which grows with the arrival of each boat carrying additional African Union forces.

“Now that we have been joined by coalition forces we can be certain that the damages will be minimal,” said Mohamed Bacar Dossar, director of the Presidency cabinet in charge of Defence issues. According to him and to government spokesman Abdourahim Saïd Bacar, a first contingent of AU Tanzanian forces arrived on Tuesday.

Our special correspondent reports that the operation should be underway by the end of the week, unless Mohamed Bacar decides to resign beforehand, under mounting international pressure.

The AU tried unsuccessfully to mediate an end to the Comorian crisis. It was triggered by Mohamed Bacar’s claim of victory in a June 2007 election which was not recognised by the AU or by the Comorian Union. Ajouan broke away from the Comoros in 1997.

Following France and the African Union, the United States was the latest to approve of a military intervention in the Comoros. The archipelago, which has about 700,000 inhabitants, has gone through a dozen of attempted coups since it gained independence in 1975.

Date created : 2008-03-11

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