News Alerts

22 Oct 2018 | 09:22 AM UTC

Comoros: Situation stabilizes in Mutsamudu (Anjouan) Oct. 21 /update 5

Comoros News Alert

Situation stabilizes in Mutsamudu (Anjouan island) October 21 following week of violence

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/22/2018, 12:00 AM until 10/24/2018, 11:59 PM (Indian/Comoro). COUNTRY/REGION Comoros

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Event

The security situation has slowly returned to normal as of Sunday, October 21, in Mutsamudu (capital of Anjouan island). Security forces secured the city center and the medina area from rebel forces on October 20, following an amnesty deal signed a day prior. Rebel forces have reportedly left the city. Activities at the Mutsamudu port resumed on Sunday; however, streets remained empty, with police advising individuals to avoid the medina area until the situation fully stabilizes. A nightly curfew remains in effect as of October 22.

Context

Tensions between the army and demonstrators denouncing the regime of President Azali Assoumani began on October 15. Gunfire was reported October 17-18 in and around the medina area of Mutsamudu, despite a nightly curfew in effect since October 15. At least three people died. Electricity and water outages were also reported in various neighborhoods.

The political situation in Anjouan has been volatile in recent months following the arrest of former President Abdallah Sambi (2005 to 2011) on corruption charges; Sambi is an Anjouan-native and a political rival of President Assoumani. Protests have centered around successful attempts by Assoumani to extend presidential term limits and limit the powers of opposition parties. Presidential term limits were extended from one to two following a July 2018 referendum, largely boycotted by the opposition. Assoumani is expected to call for new elections in 2019, paving the way to remain in power until 2029. Under the previous electoral system, which in addition to limiting presidential terms to one mandate, power rotated between the three main islands; as such, a political figure from Anjouan would have been next in line to hold the presidency in 2021.

Advice

Individuals in Comoros are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations, and limit nonessential movements in Anjouan as sporadic violence may take place over the coming days.

 

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