Tuesday, November 9, 2010


On Tuesday morning the Frente Polisario news agency, SPS, issued the following press release: “Hundreds of Moroccan colonists, supported by lorries of the Moroccan occupation army” have set fire to Saharan homes in the Matalla quarter of the Western Sahara capital of El Aaiún.

At the same time various blogs published by Saharan activists claimed that Moroccan troops had overnight handed out weapons to the colonists and they were now involved in an armed house-to-house offensive and they were beginning to set fire to all the cars of the Saharans and various homes.

For its part the Consejo de Ministros of the self-appointed República Árabe Saharaui Democrática (RASD) described the attacks as “a vile act” and laid the blame at the door of the Moroccan monarch, Mohamed VI. The council said his comments on the anniversary of the “Marcha Verde” that saw Morocco take possession of the Western Sahara has done nothing to lessen tensions. Indeed it has described it as an order “to commit this massacre” which had coincided with the third round of informal negotiations between the Polisario Front and Morocco at the UN.

Meanwhile the Polisario has raised the number of Saharan dead after the violent attack on Monday by Moroccan security forces on the Gdeim Izik protest camp to 10. In addition there are reported to be 700 injured with 150 people have disappeared. For its part the Asociación de Derechos Humanos de Marruecos says 12 people have died, 60 are injured with 65 being detained. It adds that the number of dead amongst the security forces is placed at five.

There is growing anger in Spain where it is believed Morocco is intent on provoking a civil war in the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. There have been widespread demonstrations outside the Moroccan embassy in Madrid and the country’s consulates throughout the country. However the Spanish Government maintains its policy of not criticising its neighbour across the Strait especially over the Western Sahara.

The new minister for foreign affairs, Trinidad Jiménez, is thousands of miles away in the Bolivian capital but is in touch with the Spanish Ambassador in Morocco and with her government in Madrid. She is insisting all is not yet clear, has called for calm and voiced her support for the talks between the Polisario and Morocco under the UN special envoy Christopher Ross.

These talks at the UN were scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. The Polisario representative at the UN, Ahmed Bujari, has sent a letter to the Security Council asking it to intervene to lessen the tensions in the area.

Just back from Morocco is the Izquierda Unida Euro MP, Willy Meyer (pictured above), who along with three Spanish journalists were refused entry to the Western Sahara on Sunday. They were not allowed to disembark from their aircraft at El Aaiún and were forced to return to Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands.

Meyer is quoted as saying Morocco “does not want witnesses” in the Western Sahara and he demanded that the minister for foreign affairs, Trinidad Jiménez, demand immediate explanations from Rabat as why they had been denied access. Meyer added that Morocco had “cut off these territories from the press, elected politicians from Spain and those from the EU. An act that is “absolutely intolerable.”

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