With preparations for new local elections under way, following a succesful military venture by the Comoros Union government and African Union (AU) troops to restore order to the renegade island by force, deeper humanitarian concerns have emerged. Last week a combined military force toppled Mohamed Bacar, a rebel leader who had defied demands to re-run local elections, deemed illegal by the AU and Union government. Bacar has fled and is believed to be on the French isalnd of Reunion.

Ahmed Abdalla Sambi, president of Comoros, has urged peaceful demonstrations against France after it moved the defeated president of Anjouan island to Reunion. Mohammed Bacar fled by speedboat to the nearby French-ruled island of Mayotte after an African Union backed military invasion.

Comoros demanded on Thursday that France hand over a rebel leader wanted by the Indian Ocean archipelago for crimes against humanity and troops fired teargas to stop protests against the former colonial power. Mohamed Bacar, the 45-year-old self-declared leader of Anjouan island, fled to nearby French-run Mayotte during a lightning offensive by African Union and Comorian forces. The French government said he has asked for political asylum

Troops from the Comoros archipelago in the Indian Ocean have recaptured most of the island of Anjouan after a year-long rebellion, officials say. They said troops backed by an African Union force had taken Anjouan's main city and airport with light resistance.

The African Union (AU) backed military action against the island of Anjouan's renegade leader Mohamed Bacar in the Comoros archipelago had reached "the point of no return", despite an offer for more talks to resolve the nine month stand-off. "We have exhausted all available opportunities to end the political dispute in the Comoros without any success," Membe told a news briefing in Tanzania's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam on 14 March.