Mamoudzou, the largest city on the island of Mayotte, a French department in the Indian Ocean, has been shaken for ten days by inter-district conflicts which left one dead on November 12, a 20-year-old young man killed in the machete, and several wounded.
The Kawéni district, where the victim was from, caught fire in the middle of last week after the attack on a school bus. On Saturday, 200 to 250 young people from this district gathered to do battle 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.
At the opening of a press briefing by her parliamentary group (Liot) on Tuesday, the deputy for Mayotte Estelle Youssouffa launched a “cry of distress” on the “cycle of vendetta”, “barbarism and terror” on the island. in “general indifference” in Paris.
“We are talking about hordes of hundreds of young people, most of them Comorians in an irregular situation, who are between twelve and thirteen years old, armed with machetes and who sow death,” she said. “We wonder when is enough is enough? What is the life of our children worth who have been going to school with fear in their stomachs for months?”.
“For 15 years, Mayotte, the island of perfumes, has become the island of hell”, the mayor of Mamoudzou, Ambdilwahédou Soumaila, got carried away, reached by telephone by AFP.
Faced with this escalation, the Ministry of the Interior announced on Monday the dispatch of a dozen police officers from the Raid, the elite intervention unit of the police, who are due to arrive in Mayotte on Tuesday to reinforce the security forces. order.
– “Fight” –
The mayor of Mamoudzou, who like the rest of the Mahoran political class approved the sending of elite units to the island, asks that they stay “until the Republic regains its rights”. According to him, it is no longer a question of just “keeping order”, “we have to fight them, go find them where they are in the slums, the remote neighborhoods, catch them and bring them to justice”, he pleads.
In the meantime, the police kept away several groups who wanted to clash on Monday evening, according to a police source. Turning back, small groups took the opportunity to attack road users, according to witnesses.
South of Mamoudzou, police officers from the anti-crime brigade (BAC) intervened around 8:00 p.m. local time (6:00 p.m. in Paris) to clear a roadblock in Tsoundzou, while a group of young people sought confrontation with the police in Cavani.
Around 5 a.m. local time, a group of individuals set up a fire barrier near the court, in the same area. The police quickly lifted the barricade and restored traffic on this road axis, which provides access to Kawéni, a district with the largest concentration of businesses and schools as well as the largest slum in the department. according to a police source.
The school bus, stopped since last Wednesday on the island, the drivers having asserted their right of withdrawal, resumed Tuesday morning but without serving the districts of Kawéni and Majicavo.
In mid-October, mayors and elected officials from Mayotte had alerted Paris to the “unbearable” and growing violence in the department, demanding that “the State fully assume its sovereign mission of security”.
On a visit in August, the Minister of the Interior and Overseas Gérald Darmanin had promised gendarmerie reinforcements, which should be available next summer.