There are reports that African Union and Comoros forces are poised to invade the rebel island of Anjouan as early as Friday to recapture the island from its renegade leader Mohamed Bacar. Since wining elections in 2007, which the Comoros federal government has declared illegal, Bacar has refused an African Union request to relinquish power or hold fresh elections. If the invasion goes on as planned, it would be the first time the African Union has undertaken to remove a government by force.
Ahmed Thabit is a Comorian analyst. From the capital, Moroni, he told that African Union troops have been gathering on the island of Moheli.
“Right now what we hear is the coming in of military planes with soldiers. About 500 Tanzania soldiers have arrived and as of today and tomorrow, we are expecting military from Senegal and Sudan. So everything is getting ready in the nearby island of Moheli for the final assault on Anjouan. And for your information, there was some incursion from the Comorian national army in Anjouan, and they captured some three or five soldiers there, and they brought them to Moheli,” he said.
Renegade Anjouan leader Bacar has repeatedly said that he is willing to negotiate with the federal Comoros government headed by President Ahmed Abdalla Sambi. But Thabit said Bacar is a liar.
“This man has been saying the same thing for ages. He just wants to buy time. And I think now the African Union forces will not buy that because they know that he is a liar,” he said.
Thabit also dismissed Bacar’s claims that the elections that brought him to power in 2007 were democratic.
“Well, you know that President Sambi was elected in a democratic and transparent way which had been recognized by the international community. It’s because Mohamed Bacar didn’t want to follow that democratic way that all this is happening,” Thabit said.
Bacar has also said he is ready to die to defend democracy. Thabit dismissed any suggestion that any military action in Anjouan would be an act of war.
“Please don’t use the word ‘war’. We are not at war. Mohamed Bacar has taken part of the territory, and the Comorian army and African Union army are going to maintain order there,” he said.
Thabit said Comorians will not rest until they reclaim every bit of their territory be it the island of Mayotte which he said was seized by France.
“When we got our independence we got with four islands. The French took one of the islands Mayotte and we are still claiming it because it is part and parcel of Comoros. So it is not about letting an island go. In fact we cannot let an inch of island go. We cannot. It is impossible. We have been peacefully asking the French to return the island of Mayotte, and we will not leave any stone untouched until the four islands are back together,” Thabit said.