Comoros court hands out more life sentences over Anjouan uprising

Comoros court hands out more life sentences over Anjouan uprising
A Comoros security court sentenced three men to life after trying to assassinate a former vice president.
1 min read
21 December, 2018
Comoros authorities have cracked down on opposition figures [Getty]

A Comoros security court on Thursday sentenced three men to life for an attempted assassination against a former vice president during a revolt on Anjouan island this year.

Several opposition figures have been arrested since protests broke out this year against a contested referendum critics say handed President Azali Assoumani more power in the Indian Ocean island state.

The three sentenced were Ibrahim Salim Abdoulmadjid, who is still on the run, Elhad Ibrahim Halifa, and accused gunman Mohamed Ali Abdallah.

Defence lawyers contested the legality of the security court and its ruling.

The main Comoros islands - Anjouan, Grande Comore, and Moheli - have struggled with years of political turmoil, including more than 20 coups or attempted coups since independence from France in 1975.

Tensions have been on the rise since Assoumani held the referendum in July that critics said allowed him to consolidate his power.

The referendum scrapped the country's rotating presidency among the three main islands, a move critics said aimed to punish opposition-leaning Anjouan.

In October, armed rebels had confronted the army for more than a week in Mutsamudu, capital of Anjouan until the military regained control.