News Alerts

28 Mar 2019 | 02:28 PM UTC

Comoros: Clashes reported in Moroni after arrest of opposition leader Mar. 28 /update 5

Comoros News Alert

Gunfire heard in Moroni following arrest of opposition leader Mohamed Soilihi March 28; heightened tensions and clashes to be expected over the coming days

TIMEFRAME expected from 3/28/2019, 12:00 AM until 4/3/2019, 11:59 PM (Indian/Comoro). COUNTRY/REGION Comoros, Moroni

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Event

On Thursday, March 28, opposition presidential candidates established a transitional council with the hopes of unseating President Azali Assoumani, a day after election officials declared him the winner of the March 24 election. The group reportedly named opposition figure Mohamed Soilihi as chair of the so-called National Transition Council to "resolve the post-electoral crisis" and to ensure a peaceful and stable transition. Nevertheless, the council stated that they would call for acts of civil disobedience if the election was not invalidated by April 3. 

The government subsequently deployed troops to arrest Soilihi on Thursday afternoon (local time). Shortly after, gunfire was heard near the Kandani military camp in Moroni, causing panic in the capital. Further details regarding the source of the gunfire were not immediately reported.

A heightened security presence is to be expected in Moroni and other Comorian cities over the coming hours. Clashes between supporters of President Assoumani, opposition members, and security forces cannot be ruled out.

Context

Comoros held its presidential elections on March 24. Opposition parties have since denounced voting irregularities and related violent protests erupted in Anjouan and Moroni on March 24-25, resulting in at least one death. Comoros' National Voting Commission (CENI) announced on March 26 that incumbent President Azali Assoumani secured a second term.

Incumbent President Azali Assoumani ran for reelection against twelve other candidates. The Supreme Court previously rejected the candidacy of opposition leader Mohamed Ali Soilihi, who was regarded as Assoumani's main challenger. Some opposition leaders accused the courts of barring candidates from the March 24 poll who might pose a real challenge to Assoumani's reelection bid.

Advice

Individuals in Comoros are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate heightened security measures and transportation disruptions near any political gatherings, and avoid all demonstrations as a precaution. 

 

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