the inhabitants of Talus 2 prepare for the destruction of their slum

This is one of the major objectives of Operation Wuambushu, to destroy 10% of the island’s informal settlements. First stopped by justice, the destruction of the Talus 2 district, in Majikavo Koropa, was finally authorized and should begin this Monday, May 22.

From our special correspondent in Mayotte

I took all my things to put them at the neighbors, because I have no idea how it’s going to be tomorrow. I have no choice, I have to leave “says Djamanda*, two large plastic bags filled with clothes in his arms and cousins ​​on his head and on that of his son. The young woman has lived here since 2006 and all these children were born in Talus 2, so for her the future is now unclear. ” I don’t know anything about how the operation went on Monday, but all this stress is exhausting “says the mother of the family. Around her, everyone is busy. The youngest as well as the oldest fill suitcases and bags, dismantle barracks made of sheet metal and wooden beams, and save everything that can still be used.

The sounds of hammers punctuate the comings and goings of the inhabitants between the hill where Talus 2 took shape and the nearby precarious habitats which are not yet threatened with destruction. Several hundred people are said to be living here, but many have begun to evacuate the premises for fear of the operation’s progress. This Sunday, this is the case of Amed*, a 45-year-old man from Anjoua who dismantles his house himself. The Comorian has lived here since 1998, but has never managed to obtain papers, so he knows it, his only solution is to flee before the arrival of the dismantling teams in the area. After sheltering what constitutes his whole life, he planned to go into hiding, “ very far “, he specifies.

►Also read: Mayotte: Comoros President Azali Assoumani asks France for “a pause” in its expulsion plan

What future for the inhabitants after the destruction?

Safia accepted the relocation offer. She therefore leaves her sheet metal housing of around forty square meters with three rooms serving as bedrooms for a shared apartment with a person she does not know. For this mother, this is not an opportunity to leave what state services call an area of ​​insalubrity. ” I do not have a choice “, she hammers. As she shows her dirt house, connected to water and electricity, she sighs: “ Here my life was so simple “. The one who worked in the markets now fears not being able to get by and not being able to meet the cost of rent. Annoyed, she leaves the place without looking back.

The informal neighborhood of Talus 2 which is the subject of a demolition operation, in Mayotte, on May 21, 2023.

At the end of the week, the prefect Thierry Suquet affirmed on Mayotte the 1ʳᵉ that relocation proposals were going to be made. ” We are able to accommodate and relocate if necessary “, he assured. In the muddy paths of Talus 2, several residents claim, however, that they have not received any offers or undersized offers – sometimes with a room for eight tenants – or too far away to ensure the continuity of the children’s education. This Monday, social services should also be held in the neighborhood, according to the prefecture, and could make it possible to take stock of the social situation of these families.

A climate of heightened tensions

I’m desperate, I’m angry “, annoys the one that everyone nicknames Hagat. ” My mother has been there for 20 years, and there they come to dislodge us like that, for no reason. We wonder if Mayotte is really a French island, because in France, you can’t dislodge people like that “, deplores this Comorian in a regular situation. He regrets the way the operation is carried out. ” They talk to us about development, here, we’re all for development, but we don’t dislodge people like that! Where are you going to leave them? It will inevitably lead to violence, because young people wonder where they will live », Believes to know this inhabitant of Talus 2.

During the night from Saturday to Sunday, the first clashes would have broken out between young people who were throwing stones and the police. ” We don’t know how it will turn out, but we fear that it will not turn out well “says a man from the neighborhood. At his side, Pierre*, 16, is worried. This high school student has not been to class for a week for fear that his family will be evacuated in his absence. If the young man says he fears violent acts in the face of the shantytown demolition operation, he says he does not want to participate. ” I don’t do what I wouldn’t like to be done to me concluded the teenager.

In parallel with the operation to destroy this slum, the evictions resumed after a sequence of tension between Paris and Anjouan. Since May 17, more than 70 people have reportedly been deported to the Comoros.

►Also read: In Mayotte, “we always live in fear of being deported”