Comoros. According to
Countryaah, separatists on the two smaller islands of Anjouan and Mohéli began demonstrating in July for
liberation from the main island of Grande Comore and for
reconnection to France. It was basically a protest against
poverty and a lack of democracy. The fourth island in the
archipelago, Mayotte, had elected to remain a French colony
at the referendum on independence in 1975, while the others
formed the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros. The
relative prosperity of Mayotte was 22 years later in sharp
contrast to the conditions on the other islands.
The worst clashes between separatists and security forces
took place at Anjouan, where several people were killed. The
peak was reached in a demonstration in early August. On
August 5, the rebels appointed their leader Abdallah Ibrahim
as president of the independent "state of Anjouan". The date
for a referendum was set for October 26. The Comorian
government sent troops to the island in early September.
These faced fierce resistance.
The military defeat at Anjouan led to political unrest in
Grande Comore. President Taki announced that he had
dismissed the government and himself was responsible for the
entire leadership of the country.
In an attempt to mediate the conflict, the African
cooperation organization OAU (Organization of African Unity)
a few days later appointed Pierre Yere, Ivory Coast's
ambassador to Ethiopia, to a special envoy in the Comoros.
Yere stated that an exit was completely unacceptable, but
nevertheless managed to get the separatists and the Comoros
to agree on reconciliation talks under the auspices of the
The talks were held in Ethiopia in mid-September. The
talks did not lead to a final settlement, and France was
unwilling to accept the colonizer's role in the Comoros
again. Instead, the residents of Anjouan voted for
independence in the announced referendum at the end of
October. The turnout was very high, 98% of those eligible to
vote. Unconfirmed data claimed that 99% of them said yes to
independence. Both the Comoros government and the OAU
condemned the referendum. Supported by the success, the
separatists announced October 29 the formation of a
In a letter dated November 1, the OAU announced that the
organization did not recognize the self-proclaimed
government of Anjouan but called for a new reconciliation
conference in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. No date was
announced, but the separatists agreed to participate.