Comoros Presidential Candidate Escapes Assassination Attempt

(Bloomberg) -- Comoros presidential candidate Azali Assoumani said he escaped an assassination attempt while campaigning for elections due later this month.

Assoumani was traveling in a convoy Thursday en route to Sima, on the island of Anjouan, when an explosive device detonated on a nearby mountain, triggering a landslide that blocked part of his motorcade, his campaign team said in a statement. No one was injured in the incident.

“I’m fine and fortunately the explosive devices didn’t work,” Assoumani said in a statement on his official Facebook page.

Comoros, an Indian Ocean archipelago off the east coast of Africa, has experienced rising political tension and violent unrest since a referendum in July that extended presidential term limits and changed the system of rotating power between its three main islands every 10 years instead of five. That means Assoumani could rule until 2029 if he wins the the ballot.

The opposition said the plebiscite was illegal because Assoumani, who’s served as president from 2002 to 2006 and again from 2016, suspended the Constitutional Court prior to the poll.

A country of about 800,000 people, Comoros has had more than 20 coups or attempts at seizing power since it gained independence from France in 1975.

In October, an armed uprising on Anjouan left three people dead. The elected governor of the island, Salami Abdou has been in custody since Oct. 25 after being accused of participating in a rebellion.

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