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Saturday, December 27, 1997 Published at 10:15 GMT


Islanders take campaign on to Internet
image: [ Anjouans protesting against rule from Grand Comore ]
Anjouans protesting against rule from Grand Comore

Campaigners who want independence for the Indian Ocean island of Anjouan have set up a Web site to promote their message around the world.

The Anjouan secessionists want freedom from the Federal Islamic Republic of Comoros.

And, according to the site, most of the islanders support the cause.

[ image:  ]
It gives the result of a vote on independence in October, which shows 99.67% of voters said "Oui" (yes) to change.

Nor can those who prefer the status quo blame the result on a poor turnout at the polls.

Out of 146,593 people registered on the electoral roll, 138 999 voted.

The secessionists decided to turn to technology instead of violence.

"We have to use all means to explain to the world the righteousness of our cause and counter the Moroni propaganda attempting to portray us as adventurers and power-hungry people," a secessionist leader said.

The Anjouan Internet site is provided through the island of Reunion, as the Comoros group has no server of its own.

[ image:  ]
The campaigners say the Republic of Comoros has neglected Anjouan since it became independent from France in 1975.

Another nearby island, Moheli, also shares Anjouan's desires to cut its ties with the central government in Moroni on the main island of Grand Comore.

The fourth island in the group, Mayotte, voted against independence from France in the 1970s and has since become by far the richest of the islands.

On Wednesday, the President of Comoros, Mohamed Taki, announced a relaxation of sanctions imposed on Anjouan, and lifted a ban on travel between the islands.

But his appeal for national reconciliation appears to have been ignored.

Anjouan had already declared itself independent before the October referendum.

The Comoran Government then attempted to put down the uprising but had to withdraw in a humiliating climbdown.

The Organisation of African Unity held talks on the issue but so far no compromise has been reached.

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  Internet Links

Anjouan independence site (in French)

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