On 24 November 2005, some 2,000 people fled their homes hoping to escape the latest eruption of the Karthala Volcano. The volcano covered nearby villages in ash and locals had little means of protecting their lungs beyond covering their faces with scarves. 

Karthala is one of two volcanoes that make up Grande Comore (or N'gazidja) Island in the Comoros archipelago. These islands lie in the Indian Ocean, between Africa and Madagascar. In this image of 25 November 2005, Grande Comore appears only in outline as material from the eruption completely obscures the satellite's view of the land surface. The volcanic ash ranges in color from tan to beige; it has spread out around the volcano in all directions, but moves primarily eastward.

With an altitude of 2,361 m (7,746 ft), Karthala is a shield volcano, with smooth slopes built from hardened lava. Comprising the southern portion of Grande Comore Island, Karthala is a regular troublemaker in its neighborhood. The volcano has erupted about 20 times in the last century. Photo courtesy of NASA.
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The archipelago of the Comoros in the Indian Ocean, composed of the islands of Anjouan, Mayotte, Moheli, and Grande Comore, declared independence from France on 6 July 1975. Residents of Mayotte, however, voted to remain in France, and the French Government now has classified it as a department of France. Since independence, Comoros has endured political instability through realized and attempted coups. In 1997, the islands of Anjouan and Moheli declared independence from Comoros. In 1999, military chief Col. AZALI Assoumani seized power of the entire government in a bloodless coup; he initiated the 2000 Fomboni Accords, a power-sharing agreement in which the federal presidency rotates among the three islands, and each island maintains its local government. AZALI won the 2002 federal presidential election as president of the Union of the Comoros from Grande Comore Island, which held the first four-year term. AZALI stepped down in 2006 and President Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed SAMBI was elected as president from Anjouan. In 2007, Mohamed BACAR effected Anjouan's de-facto secession from the Union of the Comoros, refusing to step down when Comoros' other islands held legitimate elections in July. The African Union (AU) initially attempted to resolve the political crisis by applying sanctions and a naval blockade to Anjouan, but in March 2008 the AU and Comoran soldiers seized the island. The island's inhabitants generally welcomed the move. In 2009, the Comorian population approved a constitutional referendum extending the term of the president from four years to five years. In May 2011, Ikililou DHOININE won the presidency in peaceful elections widely deemed to be free and fair. In closely contested elections in 2016, former President AZALI Assoumani won a second term, when the rotating presidency returned to Grande Comore. A referendum held in July 2018 - boycotted by the opposition parties - overwhelmingly approved a new constitution removing presidential term limits and the requirement for the presidency to rotate between the three main islands. In August 2018, President AZALI formed a new government and subsequently ran and was elected president in March 2019.

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Southern Africa, group of islands at the northern mouth of the Mozambique Channel, about two-thirds of the way between northern Madagascar and northern Mozambique

Geographic coordinates

12 10 S, 44 15 E


total: 2,235 sq km

land: 2,235 sq km

water: 0 sq km

country comparison to the world: 179

Area - comparative

slightly more than 12 times the size of Washington, DC

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 0 km


340 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical marine; rainy season (November to May)


volcanic islands, interiors vary from steep mountains to low hills


highest point: Karthala 2,360 m

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

Land use

agricultural land: 84.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 46.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 29.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 8.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 1.4% (2018 est.)

other: 14.2% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

1.3 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

the capital city of Maroni, located on the western side of the island of Grande Comore, is the country's largest city; however, of the three islands that comprise Comoros, it is Anjouan that is the most densely populated as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

cyclones possible during rainy season (December to April); volcanic activity on Grand Comore

volcanism: Karthala (2,361 m) on Grand Comore Island last erupted in 2007; a 2005 eruption forced thousands of people to be evacuated and produced a large ash cloud

Geography - note

important location at northern end of Mozambique Channel; the only Arab League country that lies entirely in the Southern Hemisphere

People and Society


noun: Comoran(s)

adjective: Comoran

Ethnic groups

Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava


Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (official; similar to Swahili) (Comorian)


Sunni Muslim 98%, other (including Shia Muslim, Roman Catholic, Jehovah's Witness, Protestant) 2%

note: Sunni Islam is the state religion

Demographic profile

Comoros’ population is a melange of Arabs, Persians, Indonesians, Africans, and Indians, and the much smaller number of Europeans that settled on the islands between the 8th and 19th centuries, when they served as a regional trade hub. The Arab and Persian influence is most evident in the islands’ overwhelmingly Muslim majority – about 98% of Comorans are Sunni Muslims. The country is densely populated, averaging nearly 350 people per square mile, although this varies widely among the islands, with Anjouan being the most densely populated.

Given the large share of land dedicated to agriculture and Comoros’ growing population, habitable land is becoming increasingly crowded. The combination of increasing population pressure on limited land and resources, widespread poverty, and poor job prospects motivates thousands of Comorans each year to attempt to illegally migrate using small fishing boats to the neighboring island of Mayotte, which is a French territory. The majority of legal Comoran migration to France came after Comoros’ independence from France in 1975, with the flow peaking in the mid-1980s.

At least 150,000 to 200,000 people of Comoran citizenship or descent live abroad, mainly in France, where they have gone seeking a better quality of life, job opportunities, higher education (Comoros has no universities), advanced health care, and to finance elaborate traditional wedding ceremonies (aada). Remittances from the diaspora are an economic mainstay, in 2013 representing approximately 25% of Comoros’ GDP and significantly more than the value of its exports of goods and services (only 15% of GDP). Grand Comore, Comoros’ most populous island, is both the primary source of emigrants and the main recipient of remittances. Most remittances are spent on private consumption, but this often goes toward luxury goods and the aada and does not contribute to economic development or poverty reduction. Although the majority of the diaspora is now French-born with more distant ties to Comoros, it is unclear whether they will sustain the current level of remittances.

Age structure

0-14 years: 33.45% (male 148,485/female 148,651)

15-64 years: 62% (male 264,023/female 286,805)

65 years and over: 4.55% (2023 est.) (male 17,696/female 22,718)

2023 population pyramid
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 74.1

youth dependency ratio: 66.6

elderly dependency ratio: 7.5

potential support ratio: 13.3 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 20.9 years

male: 20.2 years

female: 21.5 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 188

Birth rate

22.06 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Death rate

6.49 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 137

Net migration rate

-2.22 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 172

Population distribution

the capital city of Maroni, located on the western side of the island of Grande Comore, is the country's largest city; however, of the three islands that comprise Comoros, it is Anjouan that is the most densely populated as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 30.1% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.97% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

62,000 MORONI (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female

total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

23 years (2012 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

217 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 43

Infant mortality rate

total: 56.01 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 66.02 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 45.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 67.5 years

male: 65.2 years

female: 69.87 years (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 192

Gross reproduction rate

1.33 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97.4% of population

rural: 88.5% of population

total: 91% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.6% of population

rural: 11.5% of population

total: 8.9% of population (2017 est.)

Current health expenditure

5.4% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.26 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 62.4% of population

rural: 43.6% of population

total: 49% of population

unimproved: urban: 37.6% of population

rural: 56.4% of population

total: 51% of population (2017 est.)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 0.18 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.04 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.07 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.07 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 173

Tobacco use

total: 20.3% (2020 est.)

male: 29.5% (2020 est.)

female: 11.1% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 83


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 62%

male: 67%

female: 56.9% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 11 years (2014)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 21.7%

male: 21.8%

female: 21.5% (2021 est.)


Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil degradation and erosion results from forest loss and from crop cultivation on slopes without proper terracing; marine biodiversity affected as soil erosion leads to the silting of coral reefs

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


tropical marine; rainy season (November to May)

Land use

agricultural land: 84.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 46.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 29.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 8.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 1.4% (2018 est.)

other: 14.2% (2018 est.)


urban population: 30.1% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.97% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 18.6 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.2 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.19 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 91,013 tons (2015 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 4.8 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 500,000 cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 4.7 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

1.2 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Union of the Comoros

conventional short form: Comoros

local long form: Udzima wa Komori (Comorian)/Union des Comores (French)/Al Ittihad al Qumuri (Arabic)

local short form: Komori (Comorian)/Les Comores (French)/Juzur al Qamar (Arabic)

former: Comorian State, Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros

etymology: name derives from the Arabic designation "Juzur al Qamar" meaning "Islands of the Moon"

Government type

federal presidential republic


name: Moroni

geographic coordinates: 11 42 S, 43 14 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: Moroni derives from "mroni," which means "at the river" in Shingazidja, the Comorian language spoken on Grande Comore (N'gazidja)

Administrative divisions

3 islands; Anjouan (Ndzuwani), Grande Comore (N'gazidja), Moheli (Mwali)


6 July 1975 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 6 July (1975)


history: previous 1996, 2001; newest adopted 30 July 2018

amendments: proposed by the president of the union or supported by at least one third of the Assembly of the Union membership; adoption requires approval by at least three-quarters majority of the total Assembly membership or approval in a referendum

note: a referendum held on 30 July 2018 - boycotted by the opposition - overwhelmingly approved a new constitution that allows for 2 consecutive 5-year presidential terms and revises the rotating presidency within the islands

Legal system

mixed legal system of Islamic religious law, the French civil code of 1975, and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Comoros

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President AZALI Assoumani (since 26 May 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President AZALI Assoumani (since 26 May 2016)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote in 2 rounds for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 24 March 2019 (next to be held in 2024)

election results: 2019: AZALI Assoumani (CRC) elected president in first round - AZALI Assoumani (CRC) 60.8%, Ahamada MAHAMOUDOU (PJ) 14.6%, Mouigni Baraka Said SOILIHI (Independent) 5.6%, other 19%

2016: AZALI Assoumani (CRC) elected president in the second round; percent of vote in first round - Mohamed Ali SOILIHI (UPDC) 17.6%, Mouigni BARAKA (RDC) 15.1%, AZALI Assoumani (CRC) 15%, Fahmi Said IBRAHIM (PEC) 14.5%, other 37.8%; percent of vote in second round - AZALI Assoumani (CRC) 41.4%, Mohamed Ali SOILIHI (UPDC) 39.7%; Mouigni BARAKA (RDC) 19%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Assembly of the Union (33 seats; 24 members directly elected by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed and 9 members indirectly elected by the 3 island assemblies; members serve 5-year terms) (2017)

elections: last held on 19 January 2020 with a runoff on 23 February 2020 (next to be held in 2025) (2020)

election results: percent of vote by party - 1st round - CRC 60.9%, Orange Party 4.3%, Independents 30.8%, other 4%; 2nd round - CRC 54.1%, Orange Party 18.9%, Independents 26.1%, other 1%; seats by party - 1st round -  CRC 16, Orange Party 1, Independents 2; 2nd round - CRC 4, Orange Party 1; note - 9 additional seats filled by the 3 island assemblies; composition for elected members as of 2022 - men 20, women 4, percent of women 16.7%



Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of 7 judges)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges - selection and term of office NA

subordinate courts: Court of Appeals (in Moroni); Tribunal de premiere instance; island village (community) courts; religious courts



Political parties and leaders

Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros or CRC [AZALI Assoumani]
Orange Party [Mohamed DAOUDOU]

Note: only parties with seats in the Assembly of the Union included (2020)

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Issimail CHANFI (since 23 December 2020)

chancery: Mission to the UN, 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 495, New York, NY 10017

telephone: [1] (212) 750-1637

FAX: [1] (212) 750-1657

email address and website:


Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the US does not have an embassy in Comoros; the US Ambassador to Madagascar is accredited to Comoros

Flag description

four equal horizontal bands of yellow (top), white, red, and blue, with a green isosceles triangle based on the hoist; centered within the triangle is a vertical white crescent moon with the convex side facing the hoist and four white, five-pointed stars placed vertically in a line between the points of the crescent; the horizontal bands and the four stars represent the four main islands of the archipelago - Mwali, N'gazidja, Ndzuwani, and Mahore (Mayotte - department of France, but claimed by Comoros)

note: the crescent, stars, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam

National symbol(s)

four five-pointed stars and crescent moon; national colors: green, white

National anthem

name: "Udzima wa ya Masiwa" (The Union of the Great Islands)

lyrics/music: Said Hachim SIDI ABDEREMANE/Said Hachim SIDI ABDEREMANE and Kamildine ABDALLAH

note: adopted 1978


Economic overview

small trade-based island economy; declining remittances; new structural and fiscal reforms; adverse cyclone and COVID-19 impacts; manageable debts; fragile liquidity environment; large foreign direct investment; state-owned enterprises suffering

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2.653 billion (2021 est.)

$2.598 billion (2020 est.)

$2.603 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 193

Real GDP growth rate

2.11% (2021 est.)

-0.2% (2020 est.)

1.76% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 161

Real GDP per capita

$3,200 (2021 est.)

$3,200 (2020 est.)

$3,300 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 194

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.186 billion (2019 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 47.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 11.8% (2017 est.)

services: 40.5% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 92.6% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 20.4% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 20% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -3.1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 17.2% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -47.1% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

coconuts, cassava, rice, bananas, pulses nes, milk, taro, sweet potatoes, maize, cloves


fishing, tourism, perfume distillation

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 80%

industry: 20% (1996 est.)

industry and services: 20% (1996 est.)

Unemployment rate

9.45% (2021 est.)

9.22% (2020 est.)

8.08% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 154

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 21.7%

male: 21.8%

female: 21.5% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 73

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 0.9%

highest 10%: 55.2% (2004)


revenues: $223 million (2018 est.)

expenditures: $228 million (2018 est.)

Public debt

32.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

27.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$6.145 million (2021 est.)

-$22.048 million (2020 est.)

-$39.814 million (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 74


$139.575 million (2021 est.)

$68.937 million (2020 est.)

$142.21 million (2019 est.)

note: Data are in current year dollars and do not include illicit exports or re-exports.

country comparison to the world: 202

Exports - partners

France 32%, India 23%, Germany 10%, Turkey 9%, Madagascar 7% (2019)

Exports - commodities

cloves, tug boats, essential oils, scrap vessels, vanilla (2021)


$407 million (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$344 million (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$353 million (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 205

Imports - partners

China 22%, United Arab Emirates 16%, France 11%, Pakistan 9%, India 6% (2019)

Imports - commodities

rice, chicken products, refined petroleum, cement, cars (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$329,671,800 (31 December 2021 est.)

$294,339,900 (31 December 2020 est.)

$202,031,700 (31 December 2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 178

Debt - external

$199.8 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$132 million (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 189

Exchange rates

Comoran francs (KMF) per US dollar -

415.956 (2021 est.)

430.721 (2020 est.)

439.463 (2019 est.)

416.585 (2018 est.)

435.493 (2017 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 70% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 89% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 62% (2019)


installed generating capacity: 35,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 96.248 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 6.048 million kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 2,200 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

326,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 326,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 195


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 7,431 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 195

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 853,449 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 104 (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 167

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Comoros launched a special program for the construction of a wireless network to inter connect the 3 islands of the archipelago; telephone service limited to the islands' few towns (2020)

domestic: fixed-line connections less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage about 104 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 269; landing point for the EASSy, Comoros Domestic Cable System, Avassa, and FLY-LION3 fiber-optic submarine cable system connecting East Africa with Europe; HF radiotelephone communications to Madagascar and Reunion (2019)

Broadcast media

national state-owned TV station and a TV station run by Anjouan regional government; national state-owned radio; regional governments on the islands of Grande Comore and Anjouan each operate a radio station; a few independent and small community radio stations operate on the islands of Grande Comore and Moheli, and these two islands have access to Mayotte Radio and French TV

Internet users

total: 221,400 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 27% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 179

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,066 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0.1 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 201


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 9

Airports - with paved runways


note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)


total: 880 km (2002)

paved: 673 km (2002)

unpaved: 207 km (2002)

country comparison to the world: 188

Merchant marine

total: 248

by type: bulk carrier 10, container ship 6, general cargo 108, oil tanker 38, other 86 (2022)

country comparison to the world: 61

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Moroni, Moutsamoudou

Military and Security

Military and security forces

National Army for Development (l'Armee Nationale de Developpement, AND): Comoran Defense Force (Force Comorienne de Defense, FCD), includes Gendarmerie); Ministry of Interior: Coast Guard, Federal Police, National Directorate of Territorial Safety (2023)

note 1: when the Gendarmerie serves as the judicial police, it reports to the Minister of Justice; the Gendarmerie also has an intervention platoon that may act under the authority of the interior minister

note 2: the National Directorate of Territorial Safety oversees customs and immigration

note 3: the FCD is also known as the Comoran Security Force

Military and security service personnel strengths

estimated 600 Defense Force personnel; estimated 500 Federal Police (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the defense forces are lightly armed with a mix of mostly older equipment from a variety of countries, including France, Italy, Russia, and the US (2022)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for 2-year voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (2021)

Military - note

the security forces are limited in capabilities to performing search and rescue operations and maintaining internal security; a defense treaty with France provides naval resources for protection of territorial waters, training of Comoran military personnel, and air surveillance; France maintains a small maritime base and a Foreign Legion contingent on neighboring Mayotte (2022)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

claims French-administered Mayotte and challenges France's and Madagascar's claims to Banc du Geyser, a drying reef in the Mozambique Channel; in May 2008, African Union forces assisted the Comoros military in recapturing Anjouan Island from rebels who seized it in 2001

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Comoros does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; officials have made key achievements, and therefore, Comoros was upgraded to Tier 2 Watch List; the government has investigated trafficking crimes for the first time since 2014 and initiated its first trafficking prosecution; authorities have been identifying victims and referring them to protective services; Comoros partnered with an international organization and implemented standard operating procedures for victim identification and provided training for officials; the government also conducted anti-trafficking awareness campaigns; despite these achievements, the government has never reported convicting a trafficker, lacks a national referral mechanism, did not finalize a national action plan to combat trafficking, and did not allocate funds for anti-trafficking efforts (2022)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Comoros and Comorians abroad; some Comorian women and children are subject to forced labor and may be vulnerable to sex trafficking; adults may be forced to work in agriculture, construction, or as domestics on Mayotte, a French department, and continental Africa; children on Anjouan, including some abandoned by parents who left to seek jobs abroad, are vulnerable to exploitation in domestic service, vending, baking, fishing, and agriculture; children from poor families whose parents place them with a relative or acquaintance for educational opportunities are vulnerable to domestic servitude and physical and sexual abuse; some children in Koranic schools may experience forced labor in agriculture or domestic servitude; inadequate border controls; government corruption, and international crime networks leave Comorians vulnerable to international trafficking (2022)