Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Comoros: Curfew imposed amid Assoumani’s re-election as President

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Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey is an experienced African journalist who has worked with top media brands in Ghana where he is based.

Comoros has imposed night curfew after violent protests broke out over President Azali Assoumani’s re-election.

The army fired tear gas to disperse protesters in Moroni on Wednesday, and protesters were still on the streets in the north of the capital in the early hours of Thursday.

The interior ministry announced the curfew on Wednesday.  A government spokesperson blamed the protests on supporters of losing candidates.

“These are things that happen here and elsewhere, especially when we are beaten and we contest the results,” Comorian government spokesperson Houmed Msaidie told Reuters.

The Chairperson of the African Union was re-elected President of the Comoros for a fourth term last weekend.

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The country’s electoral body said he secured 63% of the valid votes cast despite the opposition’s claim that the polls were fraudulent.

More than 330,000 people were registered to vote, out of a population the World Bank estimates at 836,000.

Six candidates also ran in the January 14 presidential election.

Opposition candidates in the Indian Ocean archipelago alleged instances of ballot stuffing in favour of Mr Assoumani and that polls had closed early.

“We cannot talk about results because there was no election,” Mouigni Baraka Said Soilihi, one of Mr Assoumani’s opponents, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Mr Assoumani’s campaign team has denied the opposition’s claims.

President Assoumani was able to seek a fourth term after a controversial referendum removed presidential term limits in 2018, leading to widespread protests in the country.

He is a former military officer who first came to power through a coup in 1999 and won his first election in 2002.

He also exited politics in 2006, before making a comeback with a presidential win in 2016.

Mr Assoumani’s rule has been marred by controversy, with critics accusing him of jailing and exiling his opponents.

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