The unmarked car was parked on the national road in Mtsapéré. This is the first time on record in Mayotte that a police vehicle has been deliberately set on fire.
The fire broke out overnight from Friday to Saturday. Militants set fire to the unmarked car of the national police. Law enforcement was not in the area before the incident. No one was hurt.
A police officer, on duty, reportedly went to the offices of the GELIC (investigation group on the fight against illegal immigration) located not far from the incident. He was likely spotted by militants while parking his service vehicle, who then burned the car.
This attack on police in Mayotte comes in the context of a violent centuries-long colonial occupation of the islands off the coast of Southeast Africa by France.
Mayotte has been colonized by France since 1840. The French colonizers recently sent more police to Mayotte in order to further oppress the colonized people, who have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19. The incidence rate of Covid-19 in Mayotte on Wednesday stood at 812 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the Regional Health Agency.
The French government will deploy 20 police in Mayotte by March and an additional 13 gendarmes will be sent in the coming weeks through summer 2021. The French colonial occupiers launched Operation “Shikandra” in 2019 against so-called “illegal” immigration in Mayotte. While the free movement of people is deemed illegal by the French state, their police force is sent from overseas to maintain colonial occupation by force.