• Short Summary

    One of the two co-Presidents of the new military government of the Comoros Islands, Ahmed Abdallah, commented on the reasons behind last month's coup during an interview in Paris on Wednesday (21 June).

  • Description

    GV Rue de la Tour and sign (2 shots)

    CU INT President Ahmed Abdallah speaking in French (4 shots)

    Under the regime of ex-President Soilih, the entire Civil Service of 3,500 were dismissed and a hundred years of administrative records destroyed. The voting age was lowered to 14 and many teenagers rose to positions of power in government and the army. President Soilih recruited his own personal militia of young boys and there were reliable reports from refugees escaping to Mayotte, that this private army was responsible for killing and torturing hundreds of people. Last year President Soilih was warned by a witch doctor that he would be killed by a man with a dog; President Soilih immediately ordered all dogs on the Comoros to be shot. The French mercenary, Bob Denard, who led the May coup against the Soilih regime, was accompanied by his pet Alsatian dog.

    Initials BB/1830

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: One of the two co-Presidents of the new military government of the Comoros Islands, Ahmed Abdallah, commented on the reasons behind last month's coup during an interview in Paris on Wednesday (21 June). Monsieur Abdallah is visiting France for talks with government leaders on the possibility of re-opening diplomatic relations between the French and their former colony. The Comoros, situated in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Africa, have undergone five changes of government since unilaterally declaring themselves independent in 1975. The latest coup on May 13th toppled the regime of President Ali Soilih, who was killed after Ahmed Abdallah and co-President Mohamed Ahmed seized power. One of the four islands forming the Comoros, Mayotte, voted to remain part of France after the declaration of independence.

    SYNOPSIS: The Comoros' leader gave a news conference in Paris after meeting French Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Olivier Stirn. President Abdallah said that the reason for his visit, accompanied by co-President Ahmed, was to arrange an exchange of Ambassadors between France and the Comoros as soon as possible. He said that despite the disastrous condition of the islands' economy -- which he blamed on the deposed government of President Soilih -- they had not come to France to beg for aid.

    President Abdallah commented on reports that the coup had been led by a French mercenary, Bob Denard. Almost three years earlier, Monsieur Denard had helped President Soilih seize power. The Comoros leader said the situation was so serious, under what he called the "bloody tyranny" of Ali soilih, that a swift and effective military coup was the only solution. He denied reports that Bob Denard now held government office and said he was only an advisor. President Abdallah went on to discuss religion. Under the Soilih regime there had been widespread persecution of Moslems. The new leader said the Comoros would now revert to its Islamic identity.

    The President said his government were anxious to establish good relations with all the members of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), especially the Comoros' nearest African neighbours, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya and the Seychelles. He said the Comoros would also seek the close co-operation of fellow Moslems in the Middle East. President Abdallah said he and President Ahmed would be attending the OAU summit meeting in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, next month.

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