It was on 25 April 1841, 182 years to the day, that Sultan Andriantsouli officially sold Mayotte to France. The French territory, whose status is now contested by the neighboring Comoros, was however tricolored even before some territories of the Hexagon such as Savoy and the Nice region.
Archive photo (J.Rombi).
Our readers know the rest: an eternal struggle between France and the Comoros since the latter made the (unilateral) choice to become an independent country in the 1970s.
A choice that the people of Mauritania have always refused, choosing “to remain French in order to be free”.
A freedom quickly coveted by the Comorian neighbors who in turn colonized the young French department which, although the poorest in France, is rich enough in this ocean of poverty to attract about 150,000 illegal aliens out of an estimated population of 400,000.
On this sad anniversary, operation Wuambushu has just started with, as expected, the first boat loaded with illegal immigrants expelled to their country being banned from docking in Comoros.
The Maria Galante was prevented from docking at the port of Anjouan on the evening of 24 April, not by the Comorian police but, more seriously, by population movements which believe that these Comorians are at home in Mayotte and should remain there.
The forty or so illegal immigrants (out of a total of 10,000 that the French Minister of the Interior has planned to expel), received a rough reception on their return to Mayotte by a reception committee, this time composed of Mahorais, who were hostile to their return on the morning of April 25.
At the same time, gangs of thugs, from a youth who grew up on the streets, armed with swords and axes, were organizing assaults on motorists in the Tsoundzou area of Grande Terre.
Later, on April 27, the same ship chose not to leave Mayotte, fearing for its safety upon arrival at the port of Anjouan. For there is one parameter that Comorian President Azali (suddenly curiously inclined to accept the expulsions of Comorian nationals) has overlooked: the opposition of the Anjouanese people to the return of their fellow citizens to their soil. This would be synonymous with complicity with the French choices to “clean up” Mayotte (literally wuambushu can mean “clean up” or “take over”).
On the night of April 27-28, our colleagues at Les Nouvelles de Mayotte and France Mayotte Matin reported riots in the north of the island and popular gatherings, French flags in hand, in the south. Elsewhere, as in Doujani near Mamoudzou, bloody riots with live ammunition fired at rioters and police officers injured…
Is this the beginning of a fratricidal civil war, unfortunately announced several years ago by journalists on the spot?
To be continued in our columns.