Anjouan 5 francs 2008


Anjouan 5 francs 2008

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Anjouan (also known as Ndzuwani) is an autonomous island in the Indian Ocean that forms part of the Union of the Comoros. Its capital is Mutsamudu and it has population a bit under 300,000. The total area of the island is 424 square kilometers.

The first inhabitants of the island were explorers and immigrants from Indonesia and Polynesia. After that people all around the Indian Ocean began to come to Anjouan and the Comoros Islands. In about 1500, the Sultanate of Ndzuwani (Anjouan) was founded, which took over the entire island. The sultanate was the most powerful of all the Comorian sultanates. In 1816, Sultan Alawi bin Husein requested French assistance against the Sultanate of Zanzibar which was threatening his domain. The island came under French protection in 1886 and was formally annexed by France in 1912. The strictly republican annexation was opposed by the last reigning sultan but his meager forces were crushed when they offered resistance.

In 1997, the islands of Anjouan and Mohéli seceded from the Comoros. On 3 August 1997, Anjouan declared itself the independent State of Anjouan with Foundi Abdallah Ibrahim as president. The island then asked to be integrated again into the French Republic; but France refused. A constitution was adopted for Anjouan in a referendum on 25 February 1998.

In 1999, Anjouan had internal conflicts and on 1 August of that year, the 80-year-old Foundi Abdallah Ibrahim resigned, transferring power to a national coordinator, Said Abeid. The government was overthrown in a coup by army and navy officers on 9 August 2001. Mohamed Bacar soon rose to leadership of the junta that took over and by the end of the month he was the leader of the country. Despite two coup attempts in the following three months, including one by Abeid, Bacar’s government remained in power, and was apparently more willing to negotiate with Comoros.

After the creation of the Union, the islands were reunified with Comoros in 2002 and a new Union of the Comoros constitution mandated the election of a President of the Autonomous island of Anjouan along with presidents for the other two autonomous islands and a President of the Union. Bacar was elected for a 5-year term as President of the island of Anjouan. His term expired on 14 April 2007 and the president of the assembly, Houmadi Caambi, became acting president from 15 April until he was overthrown by forces loyal to Bacar on 10 May.

Peace talks were held between the government and the local regime in Anjouan and agreed to hold free elections in which Mohamed Bacar would stand. Although the Union government delayed the election - citing alleged irregularities and intimidation — Bacar unilaterally printed ballots and held an illegal election in June. The result, due to election fraud, was an overwhelming victory of 90 percent. In July 2007, he once again declared the island of Anjouan to be independent of the Comoros

In February 2008, the Comoros rejected the African Union's extended sanctions against Anjouan and instead opted for a military solution. In early March, the Comoros armed forces and around 400 international reinforcements from the African Union assembled on the island of Mohéli. Hostilities began on March 11, when Comorian forces staged an armed incursion on the island but diplomacy continued with an intervention by South African President Thabo Mbeki who attempted to delay the planned invasion to the distinct displeasure of the Comorian government. There were further incursions between 14 March and 16 March and clashes between local forces loyal to Mohamed Bacar and, presumably, those from the African Union invasion force which then retreated back to Mohéli.

On 19 March, a French military helicopter on a clandestine mission from French-administered Mayotte crashed in the sea close to the city of Sima on Anjouan. Critics of the action allege the helicopter was involved in an attempt to bring Bacar into French exile, and that Bacar was able to hold out so long only because he was protected by the French.

The main operation and, ultimately, the invasion of Anjouan began on the evening of 24 March when five boats transporting approximately 1,500 soldiers had left Mohéli on their way to Anjouan. In the early hours of 25 March, an amphibious landing was made by Comoran troops supported by contingents from the African Union. The combined forces quickly advanced on the town of Ouani to secure the airfield. After the airport was secured the invasion force apparently split where part of it headed south-west to engage Anjouanais loyalists in the capital, Matsumudu, and the remainder headed south-east capturing the port of Bambao M'Sanga and the second city of Domoni without resistance.

Mohamed Bacar managed to escape to Mayotte by 26 March to seek political asylum. He was subsequently held in custody there by the French administration and brought to the island of Réunion, where he was charged for entering French territory illegally and possession of weapons. On 15 May, France rejected Bacar's request for asylum but the French refugee office ruled that the ousted leader could not be extradited to Comoros because of the risk of persecution. France's State Secretary for Overseas, Yves Jégo, said France would support the Comoran government's efforts. "We will continue to act in consultation with the Comoros so that the law can be applied and Col Bacar can be tried”.

This is the first coin ever issued for the island of Anjouan.

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