African Union Mission to Topple Rebel Leader Goes Largely Unnoticed

African Union Mission to Topple Rebel Leader Goes Largely Unnoticed

The African Union launched an invasion of a separatist-controlled island off the coast of Mozambique last week in part, to bolster the multilateral organization's image abroad. Around 1,300 AU troops joined 400 Comorian government troops to oust Col. Mohamed Bacar from Anjouan, one of the three islands that make up the Union of the Comoros. In a one-day fight, the AU-Comorian troops gained full control of the island, and Bacar fled to French-controlled Mayotte, the other island on the Comorian archipelago.

The only problem for the AU was that hardly anyone noticed the successful mission.

In the United States, there was almost no press coverage of the assault, and even less commentary from the government. The New York Times ran a 180-word brief on page A-12; the Washington Post's coverage barely eclipsed 50 words. The U.S. State Department issued a 100-word press release commending the operation, but spokesman Sean McCormack was not asked any questions about it at his daily press conferences last week.

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