Migrant crisis leads to growing violence on French overseas territory of Mayotte

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Violence is reaching unprecedented levels in the French overseas département of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean, prompted by the arrival of migrants from the neighbouring island nation of Comoros on makeshift boats. The result has been regular expulsions and repatriation of illegal migrants, clashes between the new arrivals and locals, and even riots. The situation has been exacerbated by the Covid crisis. Meanwhile the heavy-handed security response by the authorities in this small département has caused disquiet among local associations. Julien Sartre reports.

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Jeje! ('Hello!'), Jema ('How are you?')”. The courtesy of these brief exchanges in the local Shimaore language is deceptive. So, too, is the laid-back attitude of the inhabitants at Tzakany beach in the village of Tsingoni on the north of Mayotte's main island Grand-Terre.