The 2008 invasion of Anjouan (code-named Operation Democracy in Comoros) took place on March 25 2008 with an amphibious assault led by the Comoros, backed by African Union (AU) forces, including troops from Sudan, Tanzania, Senegal, along with logistical support from Libya and France. The objective of the invasion was to topple Colonel Mohamed Bacar’s leadership in Anjouan, an island part of the Union of Comoros, when he refused to step down after a disputed 2007 election, in defiance of the federal government and the AU.
The invasion occurred on the early morning of March 25, 2008. The main towns were quickly overrun and the island was declared under the control of the invading forces the same day. Mohamed Bacar managed to escape to Mayotte on March 26, reportedly dressed as a woman, and requested political asylum. He was subsequently held in custody there by the French administration and brought to the island of Réunion. On May 15, France rejected Bacar’s request for asylum but the French refugee office ruled that the ousted leader could not be extradited to the Comoros because of the risk of persecution. Some analysts suggested that the AU was hoping to win easily against Anjouan to earn some international prestige to offset the failures of its struggling peacekeeping missions in Sudan and Somalia.
by Jose Cendon