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Date: Wed, 22 Feb 1995 00:20:58 -0500
Sender: AFRICA-N Africa News & Information Service <AFRICA-N%UTORONTO.BITNET@UBVM.cc.buffalo.edu>
From: Faraz Fareed Rabbani <frabbani@epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: 'The Indian Ocean Newsletter': No. 657: February 4, 1995 (fwd)
Comments: To: African News & Information Service <africa-n@utoronto.bitnet>

Comoros Islands: French are not Worried

From the Indian Ocean Newsletter, Politics; No. 657, 4 February 1995

The anti-France anger displayed on January 20 following the French government decision to slap entry visa requirements on all Comoros citizens entering Mayotte Island (ION No. 656) has set off a wave of consternation among French nationals in Moroni. On Friday January 27, French civilian employees remained hiding in their homes all day after threatening letters had been addressed to the French ambassador, Didier Ferrand, by two mysterious organizations called Jeunesse Comorienne and Union des Jeunesses Revolutionnaires des Comores. The documents thanked France for "having made available the CFI" (television service for Comoros Islanders) which could transmit films of "current events in Algeria"; they went on to invite French nationals to "leave this country" as otherwise they would be "rubbed out one by one". French nationals in Moroni took the threat seriously and did not turn up for work on January 27, while the state-funded French school gave pupils the day off.

The January 20 demonstration had also split leaders of Rassemblement pour la Democratie et le Renouveau (RDR, governmental party). On January 26, party chairman (and Comoros ambassador to Madagascar) Si Mohamed Nacr Eddine and his general secretary Mohamed Abdou Madi (a former prime minister) issued a statement which condemned the "haste which had floated over the organization" of the demonstration and the "violence and revenge attacks which ensued", and added that the "support given by the government of prime minister Halifa Houmadi constitutes a typical violation of the 1963 Convention" with France. The RDR politburo blamed "irresponsibility of the government, which was behind all this clumsiness".

The Comoros prime minister reacted sharply and "energetically" to the comments which he described as "political hypocrisy". Head of state Said Mohamed Djohar backed his prime minister fully and issued a decree on January 31 ending Mohamed Abdou Madi's functions as chairman of the board of the central bank, and Nacr Eddine's functions as Comoros ambassador to Madagascar.