Comoros leader okays assault on rebel island

( Reuter )- The president of the Comoros archipelago authorized an African Union-backed assault on rebel Anjouan island on Monday, sending helicopters to drop leaflets that warned residents to stay at home.

"In the hours, or the days to come, Anjouan will be liberated by force, or, I dare to hope, the rebels will surrender themselves in order to avoid confrontation," President Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi told the nation in a live address.

Some boats were on their way to the tropical, hilly Anjouan from nearby Moheli island, a military source said.

With 1,350 AU troops in support, the national government of the coup-prone Indian Ocean nation hopes a landing on Anjouan will quickly topple its local leader, French-trained former gendarme Mohamed Bacar , who clung to power in an illegal election last year.

Analysts say the AU may be hoping to score a relatively easy victory against Anjouan -- whose population is just 300,000 --- to earn some international prestige to offset the failures of its struggling peacekeeping missions in Sudan and Somalia.

After suffering some 20 coups or coup attempts since independence from France in 1975, the three-island Comoros is trying to shrug off a history of instability.

"Yesterday evening, I gave the order to the national army to join with the African Union forces to re-establish the republican legality in Anjouan ," Sambi added in his speech.

Earlier, helicopters dropped leaflets on Anjouan , saying a military assault was imminent.

"The National Development Army informs all inhabitants that it will be in Anjouan in the coming days or, more likely, the coming hours," read the French-language leaflets, one of which was seen by Reuters.

Also on Monday, all air and sea links were cut to Anjouan and Moheli , where national Comoros and AU troops have joined forces, authorities said.

Some 750 soldiers from Tanzania and 600 from Sudan arrived in recent days to support the assault. A Senegalese contingent was also due.

Accusing Bacar and his associates of crimes including rape, torture, false imprisonment and the forced movement of people, Sambi , however, urged the local population not to take revenge.

And he urged Bacar's militia of several hundred men to surrender.

"If you use your arms, I will hold you responsible for the consequences which follow. You have destroyed the future of the country. If you flee, we will search everywhere, and we will find you in order to judge you," he said.

Sambi has plenty of support at home and in the AU for the operation. But South Africa has expressed reservation, saying dialogue would be preferable.

And the party of Comoros' former national president Colonel Azali Assoumani also questioned the wisdom of an attack.

"The use of any force ... would attract the attention of the population of both Comoros and the international community to the groundless character of a fratricidal war whose motives are not convincing," it said in a written statement.

The central government accuses Bacar of secessionist aspirations, but he says he is fighting for more autonomy rather than independence.

Azerbaijan gains brilliant victory by liberating its lands - Chairman of National Congress of Azerbaijanis of Georgia
Azerbaijan gains brilliant victory by liberating its lands - Chairman of National Congress of Azerbaijanis of Georgia
Azerbaijani expert discloses value of military equipment lost by Armenia (PHOTO) (UPDATE)
Azerbaijani expert discloses value of military equipment lost by Armenia (PHOTO) (UPDATE)
Trilateral statement on Karabakh to contribute to long-term peace in region - Kazakhstan's President
Trilateral statement on Karabakh to contribute to long-term peace in region - Kazakhstan's President
Loading Bars
Latest
Germany extends COVID-19 restriction measures till January
Poland to start COVID-19 vaccinations as confirmed cases top 1 mln
First Vice-President of Brazilian Federal Senate sends letter to President of Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan's postal service operator opens tender to buy petrol
Kazakhstan decreases import from Canada twofold amid COVID-19
Number of enterprises launched in Iran's Fars Province increases
UK records another 16,170 coronavirus cases with 648 deaths
UAE launches satellite Falcon Eye into space
Azerbaijani, Russian FMs hold telephone conversation
Iran ranked among states with high efficiency turbine tech.
Kyrgyz ambassador and Secretary of Senate of Pakistan discuss inter-parliamentary cooperation
Restrictions mulled for New Year celebrations amid COVID-19 outbreak in Turkey
Georgian FM meets with Polish counterpart in Warsaw
Protesters in Yerevan demand Pashinyan's resignation (VIDEO)
Pfizer-BioNTech seeks full marketing approval from UK for COVID-19 vaccine
Kazakhstan eyes attracting latest US technologies in soybeans processing
Kazakhstan's Zhambyl to reduce energy-dependence by attracting investments in renewables
Germany reports record 487 COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours
Belarus reports 1,689 new COVID-19 cases, 139,908 in total
Azerbaijan eyes to use potential of liberated lands for fishery development
UN office announces agenda of special session of General Assembly on COVID-19 initiated by Azerbaijani president
Additional assets brought for Russian peacekeeping contingent delivered - Azerbaijani MoD (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan gains brilliant victory by liberating its lands - Chairman of National Congress of Azerbaijanis of Georgia
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry expresses condolences to Iranian side (PHOTO)
Deposit liabilities of Georgian banking system decreases month-in-month
Phase 3 of OPEC+ could lead to immediate fall in oil prices
Azerbaijan reveals TOP-10 private non-oil exporters
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on December 5
Azerbaijani banks to fully сancel loan debts of martyrs' families
Lending by Georgian commercial banks down
Iran reveals forecast for oil sales for next year
Lari depreciation remains one of leading factors in Georgian debt growth
Georgia decides to ease entry regime for its citizens
Aztelekom LLC announces tender for purchase of electronic spare parts
Bentley hires jets to fly car parts to Britain during Brexit
National Bank of Georgia reveals volume of international reserves
Georgia sees increase in overdue debt
Uzbekistan, Afghanistan eye to achieve twofold growth in trade
Russia discloses volumes of agricultural products supplied to Georgia
Azerbaijan's State Security Service prosecutes Lebanese terrorist mercenary (VIDEO)
Ashgabat City Telephone Network opens tender for audit
EU extends relief measures for COVID-hit loans to March
Turkmenistan expands international cooperation through environmental diplomacy
Iran expands mobile phone imports
Azerbaijani Clean City OJSC signs tender contract
Israel expects $220 million in non-defence trade with Bahrain in 2021
Azerbaijan determines damage inflicted by Armenia on Fuzuli, Jabrayil districts
Turkey to continue providing all kinds of assistance to Azerbaijan - Turkish Minister of National Defense
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price still rising
Employment increases in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan Province
Azerbaijan reduces lead exports
Investment in tourism transport infrastructure to help dev’t this sector in Turkmenistan - UNWTO
Georgia expects to start adoption of Oil Stockholding Act soon
Iranian president declares budget revenues for next year
Uzbekistan’s Agrobank to fund entrepreneurial activity under Islamic sharia law
Tightening of quarantine regime may be inevitable - TABIB
Iran expects increase of budget revenues
Georgian CEC to summarize final results of parliamentary elections on December 3
COVID-19 pandemic to displace business class cars from car rental market
Azerbaijan unveils data on local insurers' fees for 10M2020
Building for Turkish-Russian joint monitoring center under construction - Turkish Minister of National Defense
Georgia cultivates significant amount of land to combat marble bugs
Uzbekistan’s Tashkent registers largest number of private enterprises
Tourism can help protect, promote Turkmenistan’s culture - UNWTO
Volume of sales through Azexport portal continues to grow
New electricity facilities to be put into operation in Iran
Japanese agency funds project aimed at improving locust control in Uzbekistan
Georgian oil company trying to contain fuel price rise
Uzbekistan, Germany in talks over partnership with EU
Value of OIC states' import from Turkey shows decline
Azerbaijan's non-oil exports via 'Single Window' system increase
SOCAR Polymer remains export leader in Azerbaijan's private sector
Georgia aims to transpose renewables acquis
Kazakhstan's crude petroleum oil exports to Greece plummet
Construction of Kerki airport passenger terminal being completed in Turkmenistan
Azerbaijan's AzerGold becomes one of export leaders in public sector
Trilateral statement on Karabakh to contribute to long-term peace in region - Kazakhstan's President
Kazakhstan discloses volume of doses to be produced by COVID-19 vaccine plant
ASTS+ trading, clearing system to up productivity of Kazakhstan Stock Exchange
Azerbaijan announces recent COVID-19 death rate
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for December 2
Azerbaijan presents video footage from Lachin's Garygyshlag village (VIDEO)
Oil prices steady as market awaits output deal
Iran's export to Afghanistan increases
Prices of Kazakh-manufactured diesel fuel down
Azerbaijan's October 2020 non-oil exports slightly rise
Expenses on construction of enterprises in Iran’s Semnan Province climbs
Resources from Southern Gas Corridor to be available via Serbian-Hungarian pipeline
Iran's non-oil export has increases
Iron ore concentrate production of giant Iranian steel companies grows
Events in Belarus, Nagorno-Karabakh region, Kyrgyzstan complicate situation in CSTO area – Putin
Turkmenistan working on development of infrastructure for gas export
Uzbekistan’s State Tax Committee announces tender for IT services
Azerbaijan confirms 3,942 new COVID-19 cases, 2,265 recoveries
Azerbaijan shows video footage from Soyudlu gold deposit of Kalbajar district (VIDEO)
Turkish companies involved in construction of new road to Azerbaijan’s Shusha (Exclusive)
Georgia aims to introduce mobile virtual network operators in 2021
Georgian 2021 budget bill calls for issuing new Eurobonds
Turkmenistan to conclude technical inventory of companies involved in fuel, energy sector
Details of Iran's budget for next year announced
All news