The ballet of diggers continued on Tuesday in Mayotte to demolish the sheet metal huts of Talus 2, a major slum in this French territory in the Indian Ocean. The operation is expected to last until the end of the week.
The demolitions began on Monday morning, marking the real start of the disputed “Wuambushu” security operation, which aims to reduce unsanitary housing, fight against crime and expel irregular migrants, mostly from the archipelago of neighboring Comoros.
The demolition had been suspended by the administrative court
Initially scheduled for April 25, the demolition of Talus 2 had been suspended by the Mayotte administrative court in Mamoudzou, before two new court decisions ruled in favor of the State, the last dating from Wednesday. The “stripping” began Monday at 7:30 a.m. local time in the Majicavo district, in the town of Koungou, in the north of Grande Terre, the main island of the poorest department in France. The diggers, which were on Monday at the bottom of the shantytown, demolished the sheet metal on the dwellings in the heights on Tuesday, where the metal clashed under the force of the machines.
“It hurts my heart to see this”
Workers sort through the remains of Talus 2, which are piled up behind red and white tape below. The wood is placed in a fire, near the road, in front of two containers. A few goats and hens seem lost in the paths they were taking the day before.
Families silently observe the parade of machines whose powerful arms scrape earth and stone from permanent houses. “It hurts my heart to see that, people left yesterday, we have no more news from them. And there it will last all week, “sighs a man, who prefers to remain anonymous. The gendarmes were present in large numbers all around the area. The arrival of the machines and dumpsters almost completely congested the traffic all around around 7:30 local time.
State services have counted “162 huts to be demolished” in this slum, the prefect, Thierry Suquet, indicated on Monday. Half of the families in the neighborhood “have been relocated”, he assured. In total, the authorities plan to destroy a thousand substandard housing in Mayotte over several months. Of the estimated 350,000 inhabitants of Mayotte, half do not have French nationality. Only a third of the inhabitants of slums have it.