On Saturday morning, more than a thousand people gathered in Mamoudzou to support the Mayotte government’s “Wuambushu” security operation and demand an end to crime and illegal immigration. Ambdilwahedou Soumaila, the mayor of the archipelago’s capital, told AFP that “citizen mobilization is important; it supports the action of elected officials who called this operation to claim our security and our freedom.”
“We are not proud of the fact that Mamoudzou has the biggest slum in France (Kawéni, editor’s note). A slum is first and foremost a source of ecological and hygienic vulnerability; it is also a national disgrace,” he continued.Wuanbushu, which means “recovery” in Mauritanian, is the umbrella term for a number of operations Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has started to remove illegal immigrants from the unclean slums of Mayotte, most of whom are from the adjacent Comoros.
Half of Mayotte’s estimated 350,000 residents are not French citizens. The effort also tries to combat the widespread delinquency in the archipelago, which is mostly a result of the volatile social and economic conditions in its slums. Many associations criticize “Wuambushu” as “brutal,” “anti-poor,” and violating the rights of migrants, but elected officials and many islanders support it.
The second gathering of the week, which took place on Saturday, was planned in response to a plea by certain Moroccan people. Many protesters, primarily women, wore t-shirts with the slogans “Marshall Plan for Mayotte,” “Support the Police,” and “Azali (Azali Assoumani, president of the Comoros, editor’s note) take care of your population.”
“We must travel to the city in order to live a normal life and to exercise our right to walk home safely at night.” “We have been robbed of our youth, but we are Mayotte’s assets in the future,” one of them, Moulaika Antoy, 18, a BTS tourism student, remarked.
Chafion Abdou, a member of the Collectif des citoyens de Mayotte, from which the deputy Estelle Youssouffa (Liot) hails, was present and backed the boycott of undocumented immigrants.
He defended himself by saying, “We have to stop with the mentality of “it’s my brother; I don’t denounce him.” “There is a responsibility issue in Mayotte with citizens who must stop giving these people their proof of residency and assist our mayors in taking a census.”
The “Wuambushu” operation is occurring amid some confusion: the justice system has put the demolition of a slum on hold, and the evictions are being hindered by the SGTM company’s crossings between Mayotte and the Comorian island of Anjouan being suspended “until further notice,” despite the reopening of the Comorian ports.