New weekend of violence in Mayotte, dispatch of a Raid unit

published on Monday, November 21, 2022 at 6:24 p.m.

Tensions between young people from rival neighborhoods caused by the murder of a young man last week persisted in Mayotte on Monday, after a weekend of violence marked by machete attacks, roadblocks and fires.

In the evening, the police reported unrest north of the agglomeration of Mamoudzou, between Kawéni and Majikavo, while bands from the two villages were determined to fight. The students in the sector were first confined to colleges and high schools before returning on foot, for lack of a bus.

School bus service, stopped since last Wednesday on the island, should resume on Tuesday but will not serve either of the two villages, we learned after a meeting between the department and the bus drivers’ union.

The capital of Mayotte has been shaken for ten days by inter-district conflicts which left one dead on November 12, a 20-year-old young man killed with a machete, and several injured.

The Kawéni district, where the victim was from, caught fire last Wednesday and Thursday 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. “His vital prognosis is engaged,” said another police source.

– “Traumatized” –

The clashes gave rise to “throwing of projectiles” at the police, “damage to vehicles and businesses”, “cutting of water supply pipes” and the burning of a junkyard automobile, according to the first source.

“Residents armed themselves with iron bars and machetes to defend themselves against the bands,” she added.

Barricades were erected, according to the other police source.

There were no arrests.

In Mtaspéré Mro Handra, where young people from Kawéni wanted to set a trap for their rivals from Doujani, Mustapha, 50, does not want to believe what happened the day before.

“I haven’t slept yet, I’m traumatized. I’ve never seen so much violence and yet I’ve already been attacked so many times,” he laments, uncovering his back to reveal many traces of machete blows.

The young people who came to fight “were dozens, maybe hundreds, with machetes”, he describes.

“They set fire to the garage, there was everything burning everywhere, we were suffocating, we couldn’t see anything, we just saw that it was running in all directions, it was screaming and then the police firing their grenades”, he says again.

Around him, charred cars, stones and tear gas canisters by the hundreds litter the ground, testifying to the violence of the scene.

– “Civil war” –

“The difference from usual is that the violence was not in a fixed place, this weekend, Mamoudzou was burning everywhere”, says Abdel Aziz Sakhi, zonal secretary of the Alternative police union, who was on the field this weekend.

Thus in Cavani, a town south of Mamoudzou.

“There were a hundred young people facing us, rubbing their machetes on the ground to show that they wanted to do battle with us. They attacked, we had to fall back… Then we had no problems. “Another choice than to force the dam, to rush with our vehicles to disperse them”, delivers the policeman “completely exhausted”.

“Between them, there are surely injuries, even deaths, but we can’t know, they don’t come to see us to let us know,” he said.

“It’s unmanageable, it’s no longer possible to suffer like that. We are no longer in urban violence but in guerrilla warfare”, continues the trade unionist, who calls for the permanent deployment of a CRS company on the territory.

A “ten police officer” of the Raid, the elite intervention unit of the police, will be deployed by Tuesday in Mayotte, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

MP Mansour Kamardine deplored that the Indian Ocean archipelago “tilts into civil war” and asked the government to “take a quantitative and qualitative leap in the fight against insecurity”.

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