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Comoros

Yearbook 1997

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.

1997 Comoros

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 OAU.

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 provisional government.

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.

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