Two Comoros Islands Attempt Secesion
The island of Anjouan declared independence on Aug. 3, 1997, after months of protests and clashes with security forces. The secessionists wanted a return to French rule, contending that independence from France has brought economic disaster and political chaos. Mohéli, the smallest island, also seceded. But France refused to support the secession of either island. In Sept. 1997, President Mohamed Taki's forces attempted to retake Anjouan but failed.
In 1999, Col. Azali Assoumani led a coup, overthrowing interim president Tadjidine. He promised interim military rule would end in a year, a pledge the Organization of African Unity would continue to remind him of. After years of aborted peace talks, a new constitution was approved in March 2002, and the three islands were reunited. Each island elected its own president, and in May a federal president was elected from Grande Comoro, former military coup leader Azali. In Feb. 2003, a coup against Azali was thwarted.