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Authorities begin demolition of vast Mayotte shantytown

A man collecting remains of a demolished house in Mayotte   -  
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Authorities on the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte on Monday began demolishing homes in a large slum in an operation against sub-standard housing and illegal migration

Diggers started destroying Majicavo slum at early Monday morning as part of Operation Wuambushu ("Take Back" in the local language), which the French authorities first tried to launch last month.

The affected families on Sunday began picking their precious belongings in anticipation of Monday’s demolition by the authorities.

"We are in the process of dismantling the houses because we were told that tomorrow, Monday, they will destroy the houses. Now that we know that everything is going to be destroyed we are trying to recover everything that can be saved. We took the case to court the first time, we beat them, the second time we beat them, the third time we beat them. And for the fourth time, they made this decision even though our house was one of the houses that were not affected by the demolition decision. There were 21 families who were not affected by this destruction, and in the end we are told that everything will be destroyed," said Ahmed Daoud, "Talus 2" shantytown resident .

Some families lamented the government for taking such a decision without prior consideration of their financial status to relocate.

"I have been working since 2001, until now I have never stopped working. I am one of the hard working women in this world to raise my seven children. I work and contribute like everyone else. And today I'm being taken out as, I don't know .... I pay my taxes, I pay my dues when I have to, I contribute like everyone else," said Fatima Youssouf, "Talus 2" shantytown resident.

Some 135 dwellings will be razed out of around 1,000 sub-standard homes slated for destruction on Mayotte.

The demolition of Talus 2 was originally scheduled to take place on April 25 but was suspended by a court decision. Two subsequent legal rulings then authorised the French state to proceed.

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