Azali Assoumani, president of the Union of Comoros, returns via France the world Diplomatic tensions between Paris and Moroni arose in the wake of Operation Wuambushu, announced by the French government as a broad plan to evict illegal immigrants, destroy slums and fight crime in Mayotte.
When Operation Wumpushoo was launched, Comorian ports were blocked, preventing the deportation of undocumented migrants. Was there no prior consultation between Paris and Moroni?
I met President Emmanuel Macron in January 2023, and French Interior Minister Gérald Dormanin was there. We told them that we were always against this move, inviting journalists from all over the world: “Look, we are going to send back the Comorians in Mayotte! It could have been more sensible and useful. There is a daily flight and ferry between Mayotte and Anjouan.
Presidential elections are to be held in Comoros province 2024. In this pre-election context, the French action creates several problems. As we enter the campaign, how can I justify to my comrades that I accept the boats that will bring the Comorians back from Mayotte? It betrays our constitution which says Mayotte is Comorian [l’archipel a décidé en 1974 de rester français, un statut qui n’a jamais été reconnu par Moroni]. I can be sued for this. So, I wonder: Why did France create Operation Wumpushoo in the eyes of everyone?
In 2022, France says 26,000 were deported by boat from Mayotte.
That is not true. That means Over 2,000 every month, that’s bullshit. do you understand The Comorians of the three islands do not even represent 700,000 people. We create meaningless numbers. We got along with France. We prevent young Comorians from going to Mayotte in Kwasa-Kwasa [un canot de pêche à fond plat]. But we don’t have the means to stop them all, so Mayotte welcomes those who do. Now France wants to send them back? Do we send back immigrants from all the countries that are in Paris? No. France is a country of laws.
Some undocumented immigrants were deported…
Yes, but in conjunction with the countries to which they are sent back.
On what basis are you willing to negotiate with Paris?
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