At the entrance to the Majicavo slum on France’s Indian Ocean territory Mayotte, which authorities are seeking to evacuate and demolish, a group gathered around a poster emblazoned with the French flag. “Every day it’s this or that, they come from the town hall, or the police,” said Fatima Youssuf, 55, who, like most of the migrants on the territory, comes from the neighbouring Comoros Islands. “It’s to destroy our property, our houses and yet there are people who have been there for 35 years!”, Youssouf said angrily, unable to read the placard. Authorities in Mayotte were expected to launch Operation Wuambushu (“Take Back”) as early as this weekend to remove illegal migrants who have settled in slums on the island. The plan is for those without papers to be sent back to the Comoran island of Anjouan, 70 kilometres (45 miles) away, although the Comoran authorities said Friday that they had no intention of accepting them. In the settlement, the A4 size poster announced a ban on traffic between 5:30 am and 5:30 pm on Tuesday, leaving open the possibility that the slum, known locally as “bangas”, will be cleared by the authorities during that time. Dubbed “Talus 2” the camp is a maze of blue-and-grey sheet metal on the side of a verdant hill, speckled with sewage, chickens and bright clothes drying outside. Each metal door bears an identification number, painted in pink by social services. Behind the door marked 126, the Soufou family live surrounded by wheeled suitcases and packed holdalls. “We prepared the bags to leave, clothes, sheets, all of our stuff, but we’re not finished,” said Zenabou Soufou, 48, whose seven children are French thanks to their father, born on Mayotte. On the bed were toy unicorns belonging to the Soufous’ three girls, which had not yet been packed. The family said they have no idea where they would go, saying they had not been offered any alternative accommodation. “We didn’t refuse to leave there (the slum), but we want a dignified house so that the children can live peacefully at home. But if they destroy our houses, where are we going to go with the children?” Zenabou asked. People in the neighbourhood often cite the lack of any alternative option for opposition to being rehoused. But an official involved in the resettlement told AFP: “This is false, there is a proposal made to each of these families, who accept it or not. It’s pure bad faith.” In the Soufous’ case they may not be expelled from the island — but their current home is a different matter. The family perfectly illustrates the social and the administrative headache that each case represents when it comes to a large-scale operation decided upon in faraway Paris.