GREGOIRE MEROT / AFP
A Raid unit will be deployed in Mayotte (Illustration photo: Cars on fire at Mtsapere Mro Handra, November 21).
POLICE – A ” civil war “, alert a deputy. After a weekend of violence marked by machete attacks, blockades and fires, a unit of the Raid, the police’s elite intervention group, was to be deployed by this Tuesday, November 22 on the ‘archipelago. Mayotte has been shaken for ten days by inter-district conflicts which have left one dead and several injured.
A “ten police officers” is expected, said the Interior Ministry. This decision follows the call of the deputy Mansour Kamardine alerting that the archipelago of the Indian Ocean “falling into civil war”. He asked the government to “take a quantitative and qualitative leap in the fight against insecurity”.
Motorist stabbed on Sunday
On November 12, a 20-year-old young man was killed with a machete in the Kawéni district, which flared up last Wednesday and Thursday after an attack on a school bus.
Since then, the tensions have not subsided. The police reported Monday evening of unrest north of the agglomeration of Mamoudzou, between Kawéni and Majikavo, while bands from the two villages were determined to fight. The students in the sector were first confined to colleges and high schools before returning on foot, for lack of a bus.
School bus service, stopped since last Wednesday on the island, should resume on Tuesday but will not serve either of the two villages, we learned after a meeting between the department and the bus drivers’ union.
On Saturday, 200 to 250 young people from this district gathered to fight 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. “His vital prognosis is engaged”said another police source.
The clashes resulted in « projectile jets » on law enforcement, “damage to vehicles and businesses”of the “water supply pipe cuts” and the fire of a car junkyard, according to the first source. “Residents armed themselves with iron bars and machetes to defend themselves against the gangs”, she added. Barricades were erected, according to the other police source. There were no arrests.
In Mtaspéré Mro Handra, where young people from Kawéni wanted to set a trap for their rivals from Doujani, Mustapha, 50, does not want to believe what happened the day before. “I haven’t slept yet, I’m traumatized. I have never seen so much violence and yet I have already been attacked so many times”he laments, uncovering his back to reveal numerous traces of machete blows.
The young people who came to fight “were dozens, maybe hundreds, with machetes”he describes. “They set fire to the garage, there was everything burning everywhere, we were suffocating, we couldn’t see anything, we just saw that it was running in all directions, it was screaming and then the police firing their grenades”, he says again. Around him, charred cars, stones and tear gas canisters by the hundreds litter the ground, testifying to the violence of the scene.
“Mamoudzou was burning everywhere”
“The difference with usual is that the violence was not in a fixed place, this weekend, Mamoudzou was burning everywhere”says Abdel Aziz Sakhi, zonal secretary of the Alternative police union, who was on the ground this weekend.
Thus in Cavani, a town south of Mamoudzou, “There were a hundred young people facing us, rubbing their machetes on the ground to show that they wanted to do battle with us. They attacked, we had to retreat… Then we had no choice but to force the blockade, to drive in with our vehicles to disperse them”delivers the policeman “completely shattered”.
“Between them, there are certainly injured people, even dead people, but we can’t know, they don’t come to see us to let us know”he said. “It’s unmanageable, it’s no longer possible to endure like that. We are no longer in urban violence but in guerrilla warfare”continues the trade unionist, who calls for the permanent deployment of a CRS company on the territory.
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