The government on Friday announced an emergency deployment of a squadron of mobile gendarmes on the island of Mayotte, plagued by violence and where two magistrates were assaulted, in order to “restore republican order” at the request of the prefect. Rival gangs have been clashing since Monday in Majicavo and Kungou, northeast of the department, following the stabbing of a young man the day before.
Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck and firing barricades. the Ministries of the Interior and of the Overseas in a joint statement.
Two magistrates filed a complaint Friday after being assaulted the day before by a group of people armed with machetes, who attacked their vehicles as they were leaving the court to return to their homes, a judicial source said.
The president of the judicial court, Laurent Ben Kemoun, was released on Thursday afternoon by posting a text on his Linkedin account: “Right now, a hundred thugs are breaking, burning, looting, harassing around the judicial court where several people are blocked (…) I am preparing for a night of anguish until all my troops have been exfiltrated. »
The death of a young man as a trigger
The origin of this new episode of violence in the 101st French department is the death of a young man from Koungou, which resulted in cascading retaliation. Each time, the same scenario is repeated: the clashes disrupt an already saturated traffic on the island during rush hour, the gendarmes intervene and in turn become the target of stone throwing.
A commonplace scenario in the “perfume island”, where immigration and poverty have accentuated cleavages between villages and neighborhoods whose young people regularly face each other with stones and knives.
Precedents in May and February
Sending a squad of mobile gendarmes to Mayotte, an emergency response to previous unrest, does not address the problem at the root, according to LR Mansour Kamardine, a candidate for his successor in the south of the île. “The significant 40% increase in law enforcement we have achieved in recent years does not allow us to control a situation that is getting worse,” he said in a statement.
On May 29, a young man had already died in Acoua in the northwest after a stabbing. The perpetrator was arrested two days later and imprisoned. Mayotte, an Indian Ocean archipelago, is regularly shaken by outbreaks of violence between rival gangsOr against law enforcement, when they intervene to end it.
In February, in excess, residents had blocked access to their neighborhood for several days and tried to obstruct roads. In 2021, the Mamoudzou prosecutor’s office saw a 25% increase in referrals for criminal acts in Mayotte and a 21% increase in crimes.