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Business as usual in Anjouan as invasion looms

Latest update : 2008-03-15

For the people living on the island of Anjouan, it is business as usual as Union of Comoros troops backed by the African Union prepare to land on the island to end Colonel Bacar's rule. Franck Berruyer reports.

The main street of Mutsamudu, the capital of the island of Anjouan, is calm. Nothing appears to indicate a military deployment. Life continues, nearly as if nothing was happening. And yet on Saturday, the government of the Union of Comoros rejected the proposition of the strong man of Anjouan, Colonel Mohamed Bacar, to turn the Union of Comoros into a confederation allocating more autonomy to the three islands of the archipelago.

 

“All the stores, all the administrative offices are open,” said a man walking down the main street of the city, met by FRANCE 24’s special correspondent, Franck Berruyer. The man added, “there will never be a military deployment.”

 

The supporters of Colonel Bacar still have smiles on their faces and confirm that the situation is normal on the rebel island of the Comoros.

 

“I will stay here until death,” stated a man who declared himself prepared to do anything to defend “President Bacar,” assuring that there are many supporters of the president like him on the island. The African Union has decided to support a military operation of the Union of Comoros, to relieve Colonel Bacar of his position. Bacar’s reelection in July 2007 has not been recognized by the Union of the Comoros nor the African Union.

 

On the island of Anjouan, many people in the capital’s market denounce the methods of Colonel Bacar. But they refuse to show their faces, afraid of reprisals. A man given his opinion facing away from the camera, explains: “our problem is one of freedom. We don’t have the right to speak freely to each other.”

 

Date created : 2008-03-15

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