Gérald Darmanin’s risky operation in Mayotte
This could be one of the markers of his future record at the Ministry of…
This could be one of the markers of his future record at the Ministry of the Interior: Gérald Darmanin promised Mayotte a “spectacular action” destruction of slums and eviction of their illegal residents. The operation, eagerly awaited by the elected officials of the department, must be deployed from the end of Ramadan on April 21, for around two months, until June. The conditions of its preparation show that it will not be without risk.
The prefect, Thierry Suquet, is entrusted with a triple mission. First, the fight against illegal residence which is causing great social tension in Mayotte, with the idea of going from 80 arrests of foreigners per day currently to 250-280 – the majority of those expelled will be brought back by sea to Anjouan, in the neighboring Comoros.
Then the “unpacking”, dismantling of informal settlements – 8 mayors support the plan and say they are ready for the operation which would target 5,000 people in 1,000 “bangas”, or 10% of the sheet metal huts covering the hills of Mayotte. Half of the 310,000 registered residents of the island live in these illegal settlements.
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Finally, it will be a question of arresting young violent delinquents, many of whom already known to the police, who are causing acute insecurity to reign on the island.
One stripping per month
State services will not have had much time to prepare. Thought since the fall of 2022 but validated on January 31 by the President of the Republic in the Defense Council, the initial operation presented by Place Beauvau had to be reviewed to better take into account the situation of minor children of foreigners, according to information from World which the ministry refuses to comment on.
Residents observe the prefabricated houses rented by the prefecture where they must be relocated after the demolition of the “Talus 2” shantytown on the slope of Majicavo, near Koungou, in Mayotte, on February 21, 2023. MARION JOLY / AFP
The objective remains to mark the spirits, in a context of examination of the law on immigration and one-upmanship of the National Gathering on this subject in Mayotte. Unprecedented law enforcement reinforcements are expected – their numbers in the territory have already increased by 40% since 2018 and the first plan, called Shikandra, then launched against illegal immigration. The number of gendarmes will double, to reach 1,050 soldiers. And 120 additional police officers are planned (820 in total), including 10 judicial police officers. Several sources mention, however, a lack of means which forced the ministry to reduce its ambitions.
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The prefect implements the Elan law of 2018, which makes it easier, by way of derogation from Mayotte, to evict land occupants without rights or titles. But before that, he has to set a precise scope of action and be able to invoke “serious risks to health, safety or public tranquility”. In order to establish the list of persons concerned, the State must also offer rehousing or emergency accommodation. So many prerequisites hampered by the weakness of public and social services on the island.
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