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COMOROS, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Comoros has not signed the Mine Ban Treaty. Possible reasons include the rolling political-factional crisis which has engulfed the islands’ administration since the early 1990s.[1] French defense specialists suspect that non-signature could signal the existence of mine stocks which the Comoran defence establishment would prefer to keep secret.[2] However, the Comoran chief government spokesperson, Ali Msaidie, said that signature and ratification of the treaty are under consideration, and that the question was formally placed on the government’s agenda in March 1999.[3] The government took office at the start of 1999. Msaidie also stated categorically that Comoros possesses no stocks of mines of any kind. Comoros is not known to have produced or exported AP mines. Despite a history of military coups, mercenaries appear not to have used landmines in their attempts to take or defend the islands. French forces stationed there appear not to have deployed the weapons either.[4]

Local journalists report that on Anjouan, landmines belonging to a construction company were stolen in recent weeks from an army barracks where they had been placed for safekeeping.[5] The theft is believed to have been the work of supporters of Foundi Ibrahim Abdallah, one of the two rival separatist leaders on the island.


[1]Interview, Ahmed Rajab, editor, Africa Analysis, London, 25 March 1999.

[2]Interview, defence analyst, Centre d’Analyse et Prévision, Paris, 29 March 1999.

[3]Telephone interview, Ali Msaidie, chief government spokesperson, Islamic Federal Republic of Comoros, Moroni, 1 April 1999.

[4]Interview, French security officer, Paris, 29 March 1999.

[5]Comoran journalist, interviewed by Ahmed Rajab, London, 1 April 1999. See also “Comoros: The ‘dinosaurs’ carp at recovery,” Africa Analysis, (London), no. 318, 19 March 1999, p.4.