French interior minister notes decrease of migrants in Mayotte island

French interior minister notes decrease of migrants in Mayotte island |

Interior and Overseas Territories Minister Gérald Darmanin said the number of incoming migrants has dropped by two-thirds, and violence has been reduced, according to his initial assessment of recent measures in Mayotte, the French archipelago in the Indian Ocean.

The island faces serious problems of crime and poverty, with 77% of its inhabitants living below the national poverty line, exacerbated by illegal immigration from the neighbouring archipelago of Comoros.

“The results are there, in terms of the fight against crime, against substandard housing and against illegal immigration”, said the minister on Twitter on Saturday, referring to Operation Wuambushu, which has mobilised hundreds of police officers and gendarmes since the start of April.

Since the operation began, “violence against individuals has been reduced by 22%” in the space of two months, and burglaries, thefts and damage to property “by 28%”, Gérald Darmanin reported.

“Above all, of the 57 gang leaders initially identified, 47 have been arrested and brought to justice,” continued the minister, who praised the action of the forces of law and order and the army. He also claimed to have “divided the influx of illegal immigrants by three”.

Some associations, such as Droit au Logement (DAL), denounced the government’s “brutal” and “anti-poor” action. The Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH) (Human Rights League) pointed out that “we can’t bulldoze our way out of substandard housing and poverty”.

On the other hand, many local groups are critical of the government’s slowness in taking action. At a time when the archipelago’s only prison has seen its occupancy rate reach 230%, they are calling for the construction of a new facility and a second administrative detention centre to house migrants awaiting deportation.

In addition, although 1,000 substandard dwellings were due to be demolished by the beginning of June, only two shanty towns (around 250 homes) have been dismantled.

From Mayotte on Sunday, the Minister went even further, now aiming to destroy 1,250 substandard homes by “the end of the year”.

The minister acknowledged that the operation had been “delayed” due to “numerous legal appeals” and also criticised the Comoros for refusing to allow migrant ships to dock there.

Officially launched on 24 April, Operation Wuambushu was initially due to last two months. It will be extended before a “second type of operation” in September, targeting illegal farming, fishing, and slum landlords.

(Hugo Struna |

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French interior minister notes decrease of migrants in Mayotte island |

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