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African Union troops mass in Moheli

Latest update : 2008-03-23

Additional troops from Sudan and Tanzania joined the AU and Comoran battalions already stationed on the Comoran island of Moheli, as they prepare to launch an assault on the neighbouring Anjouan island. (Report: F.Berruyer/C.Norris-Trent)

More than 500 African Union troops arrived on the Comoros island of Moheli on Saturday to join local 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.
   
The number of AU soldiers swelled to more than 1,000 after the arrival of the latest contingents.
   
"One hundred and sixty-eight Sudanese soldiers landed at the port at 3:00 a.m. (0000 GMT) and more than 400 Tanzanians arrived in the morning," a top Comoros military source told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
   
The African troops are expected to take part in the impending operation, supporting some 400 Comoran soldiers 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 have hit many roadblocks.
 

Date created : 2008-03-22

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