Comoros army regains control in Anjouan after uprising: minister

Comoros Armed forces members search and patrol the "Medina" for weapons and armed men at Mutsamudu. (AFP)

The Comoros military on Saturday regained control of Mutsamudu’s old city centre on the island of Anjouan, a minister told AFP, after armed rebels staged an uprising earlier this week.

Soldiers and rebels opposed to President Azali Assoumani had fought in the narrow lanes of the medina quarter in Mutsamudu since Monday, with at least three people killed.

Tensions in Comoros, a coup-prone Indian Ocean archipelago, have mounted in recent months as Assoumani bids to extend term limits through constitutional changes that could see him rule for 11 more years.

“The army has retaken the medina,” Education Minister Mahamoud Salim Hafi, who has led the government response to the rebels, said as soldiers patrolled the streets.

No fighting was reported during the day and there was no evidence of rebels being present.

AFP reporters saw civilians emerge from their houses, some for the first time in six days.

“It was difficult to eat, except with the help of neighbours... but most difficult was that we were deprived of water and electricity,” Djamou Houkoum said.

As soldiers passed in single file, Salma Mohamed Dossar opened her door.

“Difficult days -- everyone fled. I refused to leave, they told me was crazy, but I will never give up my house,” she said, smiling.

Her neighbour Mrs. Salma Souloufou said: “Now that I can put my nose outside and feel the fresh air, it’s happiness.”

One square was littered with debris of stones and tear gas grenades.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:58 - GMT 06:58
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