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Anjouan President Agrees to Step Down for Elections

The government says it has agreed to a deal with the former President of Anjouan to step down and end a mini-rebellion ahead of elections next month. Mohamed Bacar had refused to leave office ahead of presidential elections despite an order from the Comoros constitutional court to step down. Sources say the new deal was signed in the presence an African Union mediator, for Bacar to be replaced by the island's economy minister Dhoihirou Halidi as interim President.

Idi Nidhom is the vice president of the Comoros islands. From the capital, Maroni he tells the Voice of America more about the agreement.

“We have signed with the help of the African Union (AU), which was mediating this issue, an agreement between the African Union as the facilitator-mediator and the government of Anjouan. And it was agreed that Mohamed Bacar, the former President of Anjouan had to go. He has been replaced by a member of the cabinet of Anjouan he is a moderate according to the African Union. The most important thing is that now he is going to run for the election as any other candidate. He would have no preferential treatment he wanted,” he said

Nidhom said the former president of Anjouan flouted the constitution by refusing to step down after his term expired.

“That person (Mohamed Bacar) refused to leave power and started shooting on our few troops we had in the Island of Anjouan for our security when we go there. And the African Union came in and tried to arrest the situation so that we don’t fight each other in that island. The most important things for us, is to see that guy leaves power, so we could have a free, fair and transparent and a very democratic elections in June,” Nidhom noted.

He said he is sure with the help of the African Union forces; there would be peace ahead of the June presidential elections.

“We are quite certain that with the African Union forces, and one of them being in charge of the commandant of the Anjouanese forces, I don’t see the reason why we should not have peace and stability during that time,” he pointed out.

Nidhom said he does not expect too many challenges ahead of the presidential elections. He also added that some of the neighboring countries have pledged military support to stabilize the islands.

“There would be no challenges as such. You know, the AU is used to organizing this small-scale election. We see no problems at all…there would be enough troops to secure the area for the elections. I can tell you as of now that already, some troops from South Africa have arrived. Others would be coming as of next week. So that should be enough,” he noted.

He urged the AU and South Africa to help resolve the insecurity problem that he said has plagued Anjouan.

“We are putting a very strong request to the African Union and South Africa, particularly, to solve this problem of Anjouan for good. Now, we need to disarm the troops who are not part of the national army, so that whoever is elected tomorrow is not going to use heavy machine guns to fight the national army or to terrorize the population. Once that is done, we can be sure everything would be fine in that island,” he said.