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Situation Unstable in Comoros Following Coup Reports

August 3, 1991

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ A foreign affairs spokesman on Saturday described the political situation in the Comoros Republic as unstable following reports of a possible coup.

Attempts to contact sources in the Indian Ocean island republic were unsuccessful.

The South African Press Association said reports indicated the head of the Supreme Court, Ibrahim Ahmed Halidi, had proclaimed himself interim president in place of President Said Mohamed Djohar.

Djohar, who is believed to be in his 80s, was ousted because of poor health, according to the reports to SAPA.

″The political situation is unstable, but we cannot confirm or deny reports of an attempted coup,″ Foreign Affairs spokesman Rafique Gangat told SAPA.

The Comoros are between Mozambique and Madagascar off southern Africa. Three of the islands - Grande Comore, Anjouan and Moheli - make up the Comoro Republic. A fourth island, Mayotte, remains French.

Djohar won elections in March 1990 to replace President Ahmed Abdallah Abderrahmane, who was assassinated in November 1989 during a dispute with French mercenary Bob Denard.

Denard commanded the mercenary-led Presidential Guard that effectively controlled the republic. He turned the Comoros over to French forces in December 1989 and left the republic.

The republic’s main industries are tourism, controlled mostly by South African interests, and fishing. The average annual income for the mostly Moslem population is less than dlrs 300.

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