Thousands of people marched on Thursday (12 April 2018) in Moroni protesting that the neighbouring French island of Mayotte is part of Comoros. This comes at a time when the French island is experiencing strong tensions related to illegal immigration from the Comoros.
Earlier in March the Indian Ocean Island which is an overseas French territory was hit by a wave of social protests by its residents against insecurity and immigration from Comoros. French authorities expelled undocumented Comorians out of Mayotte. But Comoros which claims sovereignty over the island retaliated by refusing to accept back the expelled citizens insisting that Mayotte is a sovereign territory of the Comoros and not France.
The demonstration took place in the wake of diplomatic talks held in Moroni between the Comorian foreign minister Mohamed Elamine Soeuf and the French secretary of state for foreign affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.
In a joint statement, the two delegations “reaffirmed their willingness to embark on the path of a renewed dialogue gradually implementing all measures aimed at revitalizing relations” between Paris and Moroni.
They also announced another meeting between Mohamed Elamine Soeuf and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian on April 19 in Paris.
Comoros, the archipelago of the Indian Ocean composed of four islands (Grande-Comore, Anjouan, Moheli and Mayotte), proclaimed their independence from Paris in 1975, but Mayotte decided to remain in to be part of France. Since then, Moroni claims sovereignty over this French department.