The Union government of the Comoros Islands has given the embattled President of Anjouan, Mohamed Bacar, two weeks to vacate the presidency and give way for a new election or face military action. This comes after the African Union began a naval blockade of Anjouan island, using Comorian and Tanzanian soldiers armed with assault rifles and rocket launchers. But the Bacar government has dismissed the move imposed by the African Union and is calling for fresh talks to resolve the political crisis.
A six-month impasse over disputed elections on the breakaway island has reportedly brought a new round of instability to Comoros, which has endured 19 successful or attempted coups since its independence from France in 1975.
From the capital, Moroni Union Vice President Idi Nidhom tells reporter Peter Clottey that the government welcomes the African Union’s blockade.
“We fully support that move of the African Union in Anjouan, actually we were expecting it a long time ago, and we expect more. But we hope that Mohamed Bacar will react and let the African Union enter Anjouan,” Nidhom said.
He said the union government wishes the embattled island leader would give way for fresh elections.
“What we expect is that he will understand that the African Union has decided to move in and to organize this election. If he does not surrender, then we are going to use the army in Anjouan,” he noted.
Nidhom reiterated the union government’s readiness to apply military pressure on President Bacar if he refuses to abide by the African Union’s demand.
“What else? There is blockade today and if he refuses to allow a free and fair election to be held in Anjouan, what would be left then if not military intervention to move him out of the island”? Nidhom asked.
He said the union government is abiding by the principles the African Union intends following to address the political crisis in Anjouan.
“Presently, what we are doing now is following the African Union process: there were first sanctions; then today we have a blockade; and then what is next if he (Bacar) refuses to let the African Union organize free and fair elections? What is left for the African Union to do than to go by force to Anjouan?” he asked.
Nidhom said although the union government did not specify any date by which elections should be held in Anjouan, embattled President Bacar must first give way for the elections to go ahead.
“No date has been set so far. We with the African Union hope that by showing forces and a firm decision, Mohamed Bacar will come to accept for the elections to be organized,” Nidhom pointed out.