Rebel troops attacked the presidential palace in the Comoro Republic and assassinated the longtime ruler of the Indian Ocean island nation, state-run Radio Comoro reported today.
Officials at the Comoro Embassy in Paris said Sunday night's attack was led by a former army commander who recently resigned in a dispute with 70-year-old President Ahmed Abdallah Abderrahmane.
The ex-commandant, Ahmed Mohamed, led an undetermined number of men in the assassination, said an embassy official. He said Mohamed had been arrested and was in custody.
The head of the Supreme Court, Mohamed Djohar, will head an interim government as dictated by the constitution, the official said. He stressed that it was an assassination, not a coup.
Life in the capital appeared calm today. Bruce Thompson, manager of the Galewa Sun hotel, told the South African Press Assn. everything was normal.
The Comoros lie between Mozambique and the island nation of Madagascar. The country, with an estimated annual per capita income of $339, is among the world's poorest and least developed.
Forty days of mourning were declared. Abderrahmane will be buried Tuesday on his native island of Anjouan, the radio station said.