the challenges of a high-risk visit – L’Express

the challenges of a high risk visit – LExpress

The executive to the rescue of Mayotte? Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and the new Overseas Minister Marie Guévenoux, appointed Thursday February 8, will travel to the Indian Ocean archipelago on Sunday February 11 to address the security crisis and prepare an operation. Wuambushu 2″, “against delinquency and illegal immigration”.

During this trip, Gérald Darmanin “will discuss with the island’s active forces in order to prepare the implementation of a new large-scale operation to fight against delinquency and illegal immigration”, he indicated. in a press release. This involves preparing an “Operation Wuambushu 2”, the Interior Minister’s entourage told AFP.

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Gérald Darmanin and Marie Guévenoux will be accompanied in particular by several directors general of the Ministry of the Interior “and around fifteen gendarmes from the GIGN who will reinforce the staff on site to carry out strike operations”. They also “intend to renew dialogue with the elected officials of the archipelago and citizens, but also with economic actors whose activity is made difficult by the roadblocks which have been blocking traffic for several weeks”, according to Beauvau.

An acute water crisis

Indeed, the ministers will arrive in Mayotte in a tense period. The 101st French department, already affected by an acute water crisis, has been paralyzed since January 22 by roadblocks installed by “citizen collectives”.

Mayotte is seeing the shelves of its supermarkets empty and the risks of shortages looming, while the protests are growing. At the port of Longoni, the main gateway for products and foodstuffs destined for the French archipelago in the Indian Ocean, containers are piling up. The object of their anger? Insecurity and uncontrolled immigration. They demand the expulsion of refugees from Great Lakes Africa, installed in a makeshift camp around the Cavani stadium, in Mamoudzou, and demand an end to acts of delinquency and clashes.

“The priority is Mayotte”

The movement has also broadened its demands and is demanding an end to “exceptional legislative measures” which, according to the demonstrators, establish the inequality of Mayotte with the rest of France. They particularly target “territorialized stay”, which prevents holders of a Mayotte residence permit from traveling to mainland France. A situation reminiscent of the social conflict of 2018, which lasted 44 days and left the department bloodless.

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“I believe that the priority today is Mayotte,” Marie Guévenoux told journalists Friday morning, on the sidelines of the handover ceremony with her predecessor Philippe Vigier. The arrival at the Overseas Ministry of the Macronist MP, the fourth holder of the post in twenty months, left a bitter taste among overseas elected officials, who denounce the executive’s lack of consideration for their territories.

The law of the ground in Darmanin’s sights

It was therefore to respond to these criticisms that the government launched the contested “Wuambushu” operation in the spring of 2023. Its objective was to fight against crime, illegal immigration and unsanitary housing in Mayotte. This mission aimed in particular to dry up the flow of migrant arrivals from neighboring Comoros and to destroy the increasingly numerous unsanitary “bangas” (huts) organized in shantytowns. However, the operation did not have the expected results, since Mayotte is still experiencing many difficulties.

Thursday, February 1, Gérald Darmanin said he wanted to toughen land law in Mayotte and considered it necessary to modify the Constitution without moving forward on a timetable. He leaves Emmanuel Macron “the right to make these announcements in the coming time”. Since the asylum and immigration law of 2018, land law has already been tightened in Mayotte to deal with the very high level of illegal immigration from neighboring Comoros. It is required for children born in Mayotte that one of their parents has, on the day of birth, been regularly present on the national territory for more than three months. Elsewhere in France, no residency period is required. “Our desire is to ensure that both parents must be French or regular, and that it is more than a year before your birth,” continued the Minister of the Interior.