Mayotti in the Comoros Archipelago in the Indian Ocean remains staunchly French, despite political problems on neighbouring islands.
GV Palm trees over Pacific landscape with the sea in background (2 shots)
GV Local inhabitants walk through wooded glade (2 shots)
SV Children in Scrub watching bulldozer clearing forested area (3 shots)
GV Woman and children in undergrowth
SV Scenes in village - animals and people at rest and work
GV Mountain in distance through vista of palm trees
TRAVELLING SHOTS THROUGH Village from truck and in undergrowth (3 shots)
GV PAN FROM Palm trees TO Fallen tree with truck parked nearby
GV Villagers watching trucks (2 shots)
GV Workmen walk through grass area followed by inquisitive villagers (4 shots)
GV PAN Forest landscape with sea and mountains in background and palm trees
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Background: Mayotti in the Comoros Archipelago in the Indian Ocean remains staunchly French, despite political problems on neighbouring islands. Grande-Comore, Anjouan and Moheli prematurely declared independence in 1975 and, in May, a small mercenary force, led by a Frenchman, invaded the three islands and overthrew President Ali Solih.
SYNOPSIS: Mayotte, which two years ago voted to remain part of France, has remained calm during the political turmoil on the other islands. Monsieur Ali Solih became President of the independent Comoro Islands in 1975 and the islands' economic situation soon became serious. But Mayotte, where 2,000 French troops are based, is more prosperous and there are plans to use the island and its find natural harbour as a base for the French Navy in the Indian Ocean. The economy of Mayotte and the other islands depends mainly on the exports of vanilla and cloves, however, the independent Comoro Islands suffered seriously when French aid was withdrawn after independence.
In June, the new leaders of the independent Comoros, co-Presidents Ahmed Abdallah and Mohammed Ahmed, travelled to Paris to ask for French support. But there has been concern in France and, as well, nearby Madagascar, that the coup was led by Bob Denard, a French mercenary. In early July, a Comoro delegation was expelled from an Organisation of African Unity conference on the grounds that its government was brought to power by a white soldier-of-fortune. A number of refugees fled to Mayotte during president Ali Solih's rule. His administration frowned on the islanders' Moslem religion and scrapped the civil service.
Discontent grew with food shortages and crop failures. However, even on Mayotte, much of the food has to be imported and there has been criticism of the French not developing the island's tourist potential by improving the airport and building hotel facilities.