Comoros

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Union of the Comoros

This island nation off the eastern coast of Africa is officially known as the Union of the Comoros (Union des Comores). The islands were first colonized by Arab merchants and slave traders, who introduced Islam and Arabic culture to the wide mixture of indigenous African societies then inhabiting the islands. By 1506 the Portuguese began to vie for control of the islands, which was successful in part. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, the Comoros were the target of numerous raids by pirates and raiders from Malagasy, who eventually achieved control over much of the region. In 1841, however France signed a treaty with the Malagasy monarch which established the islands as part of the French colonial empire. In July of 1975 the Comorian parliament passed a unilateral resolution declaring independence of the Comorian State.

The next thirty years were a period of political turmoil, with the islands experiencing more than 20 coups or attempted coups. They started with an armed coup d'etat led by mercenary Robert Denard in August 1975 which removed the legitimate president from office and replaced him with United National Front of the Comoros (UNF) member Prince Said Mohammed Jaffar. A few months later he was ousted in favor of the Minister of Defence Ali Soilih. In May 1978, Denard returned with another band of mercenaries to lead a second coup and reinstate Abdallah as ruler. An authoritarian with a belief in the strict adherence to Islamic law, Abdallah renamed the country the Federal Islamic Republic of Comoros, and in 1989 ordered the Presidential Guard (under Denard) to disarm the armed forces. Shortly thereafter he was assassinated by a member of the military.

Following Abdallah's death, Said Mohamed Djohar (Ali Solih's brother) became president, serving until September 1995, when Bob Denard returned again to attempt another coup. He was forced to surrender after the intervention of French military personnel.

The islands of Anjouan and Mohéli declared their independence from the Comoros in 1997 which sparked confrontations between federal troops and rebels. The insurrection was quelled, but in 1999 Army Chief of Staff Colonel Azali Assoumani siezed power from an interim president, but was unable to reestablish control over the entire country. The official name was changed to the Union of the Comoros and Azali stepped down in 2002 to run in the democratic election of the President of the Comoros, which he won. He was succeeded in 2006 by Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi, a Sunni Muslim cleric.

The Comorian armed forces are called the Armée Nationale de Développement, consisting of a small Army, National Police force, and small Defence Force.

Camouflage Patterns of Comoros

  • During the 1990s, members of the Army and Defense Force wore a copy of the French lizard pattern made in China.

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  • From the mid 2000s, the Army adopted a DPM pattern very similar to that worn by Tanzania.

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  • Currently, members of the Defence Force wear a true copy of the French tenue de leópard lizard camouflage design.

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