Dawn invasion ends short-lived uprising
Comoros coup: Paris backs government of national unity as white 'colonel' who seized power prepares to give himself up
Thursday 05 October 1995
A six-day coup in the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Comoros ended yesterday with an invasion by hundreds of French troops and a stand-off with the French mercenary who led the uprising.
The troops, chiefly from units stationed in French territories and bases in the region but also including units flown from mainland France, landed at dawn on the main island of the archipelago, seizing two airports and the immediate surrounds of the French embassy.
The troops, which included Foreign Legion detachments from the French island of Mayotte, were supported by helicopters and warships. "Colonel" Bob Denard, the 66-year-old mercenary, freed President Said Mohamed Djohar, whom he had been holding since launching the coup lastThursday, but was still negotiating his surrender last night.
Interviewed by French television stations, Denard said he expected to give himself up today. "I'm not going to resist," he said. "I await nothing more, except to leave honourably . . . It's a question of hours."
At least three people died and 11 were injured in the French dawn assault that secured the airport, 12 miles north of Moroni, the capital, and gained the troops a foothold near the central harbour and embassy. France's decision to send troops to the Comoros - reversing an earlier declaration by the Prime Minister, Alain Juppe, that there would be no military intervention - was taken in the light of the damage the coup was doing to the future of the archipelago, French foreign-office officials said yesterday. They also attributed their about-face to the international outrage at the coup.
The intervention seems to have taken place as soon as was practically possible after the coup. The outcome of the coup - the removal from power of President Djohar - does not appear to distress Paris.
A statement from the Quai d'Orsay said that the military intervention followed a request by the Comorian Prime Minister, Caambi el Yachourtu, who sought asylum in the French embassy after the coup, invoking the defence agreement between the two countries signed in November 1978. It was Mr Yachourtu who announced an amnesty for the 400 to 700 Comorians implicated in the coup - though not for the 30 or so mercenaries led by Denard - and the establishment of a broad-based government of national unity to be formed after consultations with all parties, including those in opposition.
French officials said the aims of the intervention had been to remove the mercenaries, described as criminals, and to restore constitutional order.
The officials declined to say whether a restoration of constitutional order implied the restoration of Mr Djohar, who has only limited support among the 450,000, chiefly Muslim, inhabitants of the Comoros, preferring to emphasise their support for the new national-unity government.
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance
- 1 As an ex prostitute, I urge all the political parties to commit to the Sex Buyer Law
- 2 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 3 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Couple die within 28 hours of each other after being married for 73 years
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Diwali: What is the festival of lights and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nelson Bunker Hunt dead: Former world’s richest man dies in 'modest circumstances' in US after losing his fortune
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Tester - Functional/Non-Func...
£350 - £360 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfor...
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Consultant - C...
£70 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Teaching Assistants needed in...