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African troops invade rebel-held island of Anjouan

Comoros, backed by African Union forces, has invaded the island of Anjouan in an effort to topple the rebel leadership of Mohamed Bacar, who has been seeking independence from Comoros.

Around 450 troops disembarked on Monday, landing in the capital of Mutsamudu on Tuesday at dawn, where a jubilant crowd cheered for them. They joined the nearly 1,500 African Union forces from Sudan and Tanzania, with Libya, France, and the United States providing logistical support for the operation.

The Comoros government says they have already captured most of the island. “The operation started in the early morning hours and it is going smoothly and according to plan,” said Abdourahim Said Bakar, a government spokesman. “The military has taken control over most of the island – the airport and Anjouan’s capital, Mutsamudu.”

There have been no official reports of casualties, but two African Union soldiers appear to have suffered minor injuries, and one reporter saw an elderly man being carried away after apparently being hit by a stray bullet. Sounds of machine guns and heavy artillery could be heard throughout the island.