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Comoros Government Promises Fresh Elections in Anjouan

The Union government of the Comoros Islands says it will help supervise free and fair general elections in Anjouan within the shortest possible time. This follows the overthrow of embattled Anjouan President Mohamed Bacar after forces loyal to the union government and the African Union yesterday marched into Anjouan with reported minimum resistance, seizing the capital, airport and other key locations.

The union government assured Anjounese that they would soon be able to choose a president of their choice who would meet their needs. It also accused former President Bacar of secessionist aspirations. But Bacar denied the charges, saying he wants more autonomy for Anjouan rather than independence.

Comoros Islands foreign minister Ahmed Gaffar tells reporter Peter Clottey that organizing elections in Anjouan is a priority.

“About the election, I know that the National Commission for Election worked about it, and we expect to have this election on May 13th in the next two months. Everything now is okay, and they have been working hard, and I think everything is ready. We just only need a moment to see how we can organize elections in Anjouan and get some financial means to make the elections free, fair and also democratic,” Gaffar pointed out.

He said the whereabouts of Anjouan’s former President Bacar are still unknown.

“I think that for Bacar, we know that he is hiding now. And we thought that maybe he will be in the south of Anjouan. And he is preparing to maybe run away. But we don’t know where. Until now we have not yet arrested him, so we think that maybe tomorrow, we will know where he exactly is,” he said.

Gaffar hinted that when Bacar is apprehended, he will face the full rigors of the law.

“If we apprehend Mohamed Bacar, of course, he would be judged. You know there were many executions in Anjouan and the people are waiting for justice. So we think that when we apprehend Bacar, justice would do its job,” Gaffar noted.

He said union President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi is satisfied with the success of the invasion that led to the overthrow of Bacar.

“For His Excellency, President Sambi, of course, he is very happy, and now he is taking it easy, if I can say that, because this matter has been ongoing for a long time, and now we feel that we have finally solved the crisis. So President Sambi is as happy as his government and as the people of the Comoros Islands,” he said.

Gaffar said the Anjouanese welcomed the overthrow of Bacar with open arms.

“For Anjouan people, it was a big day today. The Anjouanese were very, very happy. They heard President Sambi’s address yesterday to be quiet and not go about making revenge. So they heard the address and supported the foreign troops as well as forces loyal to the union government. So everything was okay and the Anjouanese supported us every step of the way,” Gaffar said.