Anjouan and Moheli Secession: Comoros 1997

[ 1997 ]

In the Indian Ocean between northern Mozambique and Madagascar lie the Comoros, consisting mainly of Grande Comore (Ngazidja), Anjouan (Nzwani), and Moheli (Mwali), three predominantly Muslim islands, which gained independence from France in 1975. Southeast of Anjouan lies Mayotte (Mahore), a largely Christian island that remains under French administration. In July 1997, Anjouan and Moheli declared their independence, calling the Comoran (Comorian) government corrupt and seeking to reestablish ties with France. On September 3, about 300 troops were dispatched from Moroni, the capital on Grande Comore, to regain control of Anjouan, where secessionists put up heavy resistance with the use of foreign mercenaries, artillery, and other material; the troops were withdrawn several days later. Calling the secession "an internal affair," France declined to intervene; the Organization of African Unity (OAU) sponsored peace talks between the two sides. In late 1997, the Comoro's president appointed a native of Anjouan as his prime minister.

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