Mwali is the smallest of the four major islands of the Comoro archipelago. Known in French as Moheli, it has an area of 81 square miles (211 square kilometers). The island has rich soil, magnificent forests and fine pasture lands. The valleys and slopes of the island are covered with coconut trees, coffee trees, cacao and ylang-ylang trees, and a wide variety of crops. Three small islets on the south side of the island near the harbor of Nioumachoua provide a natural sheltering place for sailing ships during inclement weather. In the past, one of these islands--Shisiwa Unefu--was used as a leper colony. With a population of approximately 45,000, Mwali is the least densely populated (370 inhabitants per square mile) of the four islands. In September 1997, a group of secessionists declared the island independent of the Comoro Republic but this claim was rejected and has since been muted by the creation of the Union of the Comoros in 2001which Mwali joined.
Three Young Women Walking Near Fomboni