Clashes, attacks on school buses … Mayotte on the “edge of civil war”

Mamoudzou, the largest city in the French department of Mayotte, has been shaken for ten days by inter-district conflicts which left one dead on November 12 and several injured.

Mayotte has been the theater since several days of violence between young people from rival neighborhoods. Mamoudzou, the largest city on the island of Mayotte, a French department in the Indian Ocean, has been shaken for ten days by inter-district conflicts which left one dead on November 12, a 20-year-old young man killed with a machete , and several injured. The Kawéni district, where the victim was from, caught fire in the middle of last week after the attack on a school bus. On Saturday, 200 to 250 young people from this district gathered to do battle with those from the Doujani district, further south, according to the police. On Sunday, a motorist was stabbed in Mtsapéré Bonovo, another district of Mamoudzou, according to a police source. Several children were injured, including a 12-year-old minor who was hit in the head with a machete last Wednesday during the attack on his school bus.

“Fear in the belly”

The deputy of Mayotte Estelle Youssouffa (Liot) launched Tuesday a “cry of distress” on the “Ventetta Cycle”of “barbarism and terror” on the island in “general indifference” in Paris. “We are talking about hordes of hundreds of young people, most of them, Comorians in an irregular situation who are between twelve and thirteen years old, armed with machetes and who sow death”she said. “We wonder when is enough is enough? What is the life worth of our children who have been going to school with fear in their stomachs for months? The MP assured that the department could switch “in the civil war”. Faced with this escalation, the Ministry of the Interior announced on Monday the sending of a dozen police officers from the Raidthe elite police intervention unit, arrived in Mayotte on Tuesday to reinforce the police.

Questioned by Estelle Youssouffa, the Minister of the Interior and Overseas Gerald Darmanin told the Assembly on Tuesday that “the Mahorais who have chosen to remain in the Republic (…) need the protection of the State”adding that the government had “several avenues of development” as “the very significant strengthening of the means of justice” to answer “at the rendezvous of the arrests which are numerous”. On the military side, Gérald Darmanin assured that he was working with the Minister of the Armed Forces to add, during the development of the military programming law, a particular chapter “for Guyana and for Mayotte, to strengthen military means”.

An “unlivable” violence

The Minister also mentioned, without specifying a date, the launch of an operation “large scope” for “put an end to the “banga” (informal sheet metal huts) on part of Mahoran territory”without specifying when. “We will send a lot of mobile gendarmes and state resources to effectively reverse the curve of violence and allow young Mahorais to go to class normally”, he added. The mayor of MamoudzouAmbdilwahédou Soumaila, who like the rest of the Mahoran political class approved the sending of elite units to the island, however asks that they remain “until the Republic regains its rights”. According to him, it is no longer a question of fair “to maintain order”, “we have to fight them, go find them where they are in the slums, the remote neighborhoods, catch them and bring them to justice”, he told AFP.

After a restless evening and night, with the dismantling of roadblocks at several points in the city, the police intervened again at the end of the afternoon on Tuesday between Kawéni and Majikavo where groups of young people were in the process of to burn carcasses. In mid-October, mayors and elected officials from Mayotte had alerted Paris to the violence “unlivable” and growing in the department, demanding that “the State fully assumes its sovereign mission of security”. On a visit in August, the Minister of the Interior and Overseas Gérald Darmanin had promised gendarmerie reinforcements which should be available next summer.

Clashes, attacks on school buses … Mayotte on the “edge of civil war”