Gunfire in Comoros as opposition forms parallel government

President Azali Assoumani (Photo Credit: Africanews)
President Azali Assoumani (Photo Credit: )

Gunfire was heard near the main military base in the Comoros capital on Thursday, hours after opposition candidates announced plans to unseat the president, whose re-election this week, they reject as fraudulent.

President Azali Assoumani was declared the winner in Sunday’s election with more than 60 per cent of the vote, enough to avoid a second-round run-off.

Observers from African monitoring missions have said the election lacked credibility.

The 12 opposition candidates said they had set up a body called the National Transition Council, chaired by one of them, Mohamed Soilihi, to remove Assoumani from office.

“The mission of the National Transitional Council is to resolve the post-election crisis, to ensure a peaceful transition, to preserve peace, stability and national cohesion in our country,’’ Soilihi said in a statement.

A diplomatic source said Mr Soilihi was arrested after releasing the statement and the military camp came under attack shortly afterwards.

In Me Soilihi’s statement, the opposition candidates set an April 3 deadline for the vote to be invalidated.

Otherwise, they called for civil disobedience and a general strike from April 4.

Observers from the AU, the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa and the African Standby Forces of the East said the voting process was riddled with irregularities that led them to conclude it lacked credibility or transparency.

Mr Assoumani on Tuesday said anyone wishing to contest the results should do so via legal means.

Advertisement

nlng Campaign AD

“I hope that those that are contesting the results will follow the legal channels and wait for the final results to be announced by the Supreme Court,’’ he said.

Authorities shut down a local newspaper, La Gazette, for publishing a story about the proposed transition council.

Mr Assoumani triggered months of protests in 2018 by extending term limits allowing him to stand for another consecutive term.

His decision particularly angered natives of the island of Anjouan, who argue that it is their turn to hold the presidency, traditionally rotated among leaders from the three main islands of the Indian Ocean archipelago.

A former army officer, Mr Assoumani has been in and out of office since taking power in a coup in 1999.

He has served as president for 10 of the past 20 years, winning elections in 2002 and 2016.

About 60 women leaders, who had marched to the Supreme Court to deliver a letter asking it not to validate the election results, were dispersed by police. Six of them were arrested.

They carried banners that denounced the heads of the military, the electoral commission and the Supreme Court as being “accomplices of a coup d’etat”. (Reuters/NAN)

Advertisement

PT Mag Campaign AD

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

Donate


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: This space is available for a Text_Ad.. Call Willie on +2347088095401 for more information


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.