Comoros: released, opposition leader renounces accusations against regime

One of the Comorian opposition leaders arrested for refusing to recognize the disputed re-election of President Azali Assoumani was released on Monday, before giving up his critics spectacularly to pledge allegiance to the regime.

Colonel Soilihi Mohamed, better known in the archipelago of the Indian Ocean as "Countryman", was released in the early afternoon after being presented to a judge of the capital Moroni.

In the process, he distributed to the press a statement in which he "congratulates (...) predict Azali Assoumani for his reelection" and "disengaged" from his opposition colleagues who denounced an "election hold-up" ".

Head of State from 1999 to 2006, re-elected in 2016, Colonel Azali, former coup leader, was re-elected after winning the first round of the presidential election on March 24 with 59.09% of the vote.

His twelve opponents refused to recognize his victory on the grounds of massive fraud, largely confirmed by Comorian civil society and international observers.

Fourth in the polls, "Campagnard", a former chief of staff of the highly respected Comorian army, was arrested on March 28th just after announcing he was leading a "national transition committee" (CNT) demanding a new ballot.

He had since been heard by the gendarmes of Moroni.

"I measure the heavy responsibility that has been mine in calling for civil disobedience," he repented Monday.

"I dissociate myself from the CNT (...) as to the content of its statements whose turn flouts public order and our institutions", he added in his statement, denouncing "underground forces of destabilization of our country ".

The other opposition candidates did not immediately react to his unexpected flip-flop.

On Saturday, a judge of the State Security Court announced to the press that the retired officer and at least eight other people currently in custody would be prosecuted for attempting to "destabilize the state".

For months, the opposition has denounced the "dictatorship" of Mr. Azali. She criticizes him for having dissolved the Constitutional Court, amended the Constitution in a way that would allow him to remain in power until 2029 and ordered the arrest of dozens of its members.

Source: Seychelles News Agency