Comorian Interior Minister Fakridine Mahamoud announced that the country will close its ports to ships carrying migrants expelled from Mayotte, a French archipelago where a controversial operation against irregular immigration is underway. France’s “Wuambushu” operation has deployed 1,800 police and gendarmes to expel migrants and destroy shantytowns in Mayotte.
Thierry Suquet, the French prefect in the area, said he expected the rotation of boats from Mayotte to the Comorian island of Anjouan to resume, but the Comoros has indicated it will not accept those expelled as long as France acts unilaterally. Thousands of migrants arrive each year in Mayotte in makeshift boats from Comoros, the Great Lakes region, and Madagascar.
In a 2019 agreement, the Comoros pledged to “cooperate” with France on migration issues in exchange for €150 million in development aid. However, Comorian authorities, who claim sovereignty over Mayotte since independence in 1974, warned last week that they “do not intend to welcome” the expelled people. The population of Mayotte accuses the migrants of creating a situation of insecurity and unbalancing the few resources of the archipelago. Human rights associations expressed their concern about this operation, to which French President Emmanuel Macron gave the go-ahead.
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