Rewrite this title French court halts controversial migrant expulsions from Mayotte slum

A court in Mamoudzou on Tuesday stopped the clearance of a slum located at Koungou, which was due to take place on Tuesday.

The controversial operation, called Operation Wuambushu (meaning “Take Back” in the local language), aimed at expelling migrants from urban slums on Mayotte had sparked clashes between locals and security forces and tensions with the neighbouring Comoros.

The operation aimed at improving living conditions for locals in France’s poorest department, but it has drawn opposition from the Comoran government and local residents, causing clashes between protesters and police forces.

Most of the illegal migrants being deported are Comoran, and the plan is to send them back to the Comoran island of Anjouan.

Despite intense negotiations between Comoros and France, a last-minute deal failed to materialize, and the Comoran government said it did not have the means to stop the operation through force.

The senior Paris-appointed official on Mayotte, Thierry Suquet, said that the operations to fight against delinquency and unsanitary housing, with their consequences on illegal immigration, would continue.

He hoped to quickly resume boat deportations to Anjouan and hoped the standoff would be resumed through dialogue.

In 2019, France pledged 150 million euros ($161 million) in development aid as part of a deal to tackle human trafficking and ease the repatriation of Comorans from Mayotte.

Mayotte is the fourth island of the Comoros archipelago that France held onto after an initial 1974 referendum, but it is still claimed by Moroni.

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