In the Comoro Islands in the indian Ocean, some 40 French and Belgian mercenaries are facing an uncertain future.
In the Comoro Islands in the indian Ocean, some 40 French and Belgian mercenaries are facing an uncertain future. Led by the veteran Belgian mercenary, Colonel Bob Denard, the men overthrew the government of the late president, Ali Soilih, in May this year and they now hold influential positions on the islands, off the southern tip of Madagascar. But last week (8 July) a four-man delegation from the Comoros was expelled from the ministerial meeting of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), on the grounds that their government was brought to power with the aid of mercenaries. So far, the government of the Comoros has not announced whether it intends to expel the mercenaries, and so appease the OAU.
SYNOPSIS: At Moroni, on the island of Grande Comore, parades were held to celebrate the overthrow of late President, Ali Soilih, and his government. Since then, the mercenaries who carried out the coup d'etat have taken charge of the army and other key institutions. White mercenary, Colonel Bob Denard is acting as advisor to the country's joint Presidents -- Mohamed Ahmed, in the dark cap and Ahmed Abdallah.
Denard has taken part in numerous coups in Africa and Asia over the past 20 years and now at the age of 49 he says he hopes to settle permanently in the Comoros. The key question now is whether he and his men will be allowed to stay - or be ousted by the government they brought to power. As a result, the mercenaries have adopted a low profile, acting as advisors only.
Although the islands now appear to be at peace, the former government left a legacy of depleted foreign reserves and direct foreign aid is now essential. The mercenaries, some of whom have degrees in law and accounting have taken a hand in managing of the islands' financial affairs, and the situation has improved. They are hoping that this will persuade the Government to let them make the islands their home.