Police and youths clashed overnight as security operations on the French island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean resumed as part of the continuing effort to remove illegal migrants.
Prefect Thierry Suquet stated at a news conference on Thursday morning, "We are continuing to secure Mayotte, especially in the neighborhoods where we have gangs of delinquents."
Recently, France initiated "Operation Wuambushu" or "Take Back," deploying over 1,800 personnel of the security forces to clear the island's slums of illegal immigrants, the most of whom are from the neighboring Comoros.
According to reports, the operation is a part of the campaign against delinquency and unhealthy housing. The island, which is the poorest department in France, has a high crime rate.
The estimated 350,000 inhabitants of the island are just half French. The majority of the others are undocumented immigrants from the Republic of Comoros, a neighboring nation made up of the Grande Comore, Mohéli, and Anjouan islands, which decided to secede from France in a 1974 referendum.
But a young immigrant who wishes to remain nameless claims that not all Comorans are involved in crime.
Of course, those are the young folks with Comorossian ancestry. However, they have the nationality of being French because they were born in France. So it's a combination, and I don't agree with you coming and accusing the Comoros outright," he remarked.
Tuesday's contentious expulsion of migrants from at least one neighborhood close to the capital was put on hold after a French judge ruled that the move lacked legal justification and endangered civil freedoms.
People in the region rejoiced despite the local administration's assurances that it would be appealed. Most of the unauthorized immigrants have spent some or all of their lives on the French island.
A juvenile migrant remarked, "I am afraid because being repatriated to the Comoros is something that will really hurt me and I will be confused."
"I can't say I don't know anyone because my mother lives there, but I don't know the Comoran culture in and of itself, and I have no idea how people there live or speak," the speaker said.
The nearest Comorian island to Mayotte, Anjouan, is where France claims it will send the undocumented immigrants.
However, Moroni declared last week that it would not accept those who had been expelled under the scheme that has caused a rift between the two nations.