by Khalid Ibrahim Khaled
by Khalid Ibrahim Khaled
August 16, 2012
There is no longer any doubt that a connection does exist between the Polisario and Al Qaïda in the Sahel, the only shadow zone remaining is the extent and scale of this connection.
Crushing reports by several western intelligence agencies, including those of friendly countries, have actually forced the Polisario leaders, who could no longer keep the secret, to admit the existence of links with Al-Qaïda.
Sahrawi Defense Minister, Mohamed Lamine Bouhali, ended up revealing that 20 to 30 individuals from the Sahrawi refugee camps of Tindouf, in southwest Algeria, were member of Al Qaïda-affiliated terrorist groups operating in the Sahel.
According to ABC, one of the Spanish daily papers which zealously defend the causes of the Sahara independence seekers, the government of the Sahrawi republic “SADR” admitted the presence of Sahrawi activists in the ranks of the jihadist groups affiliated to Al Qaïda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Lamine Bouhali was quoted by ABC as saying that a first group joined AQIM, while a second group, made up of 14 individuals, adhered to the fighters of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, known as MUJAO.
That same MUJAO had claimed the kidnapping, last October, of three humanitarian workers from the Rabouni camp, near Tindouf. The three workers, two Spaniards and an Italian, were released last July after the payment of a 15 million Euro ransom.
Bouhali claimed that the individuals who joined the terrorist groups are mere Sahrawi nomads “who are involved in drug trafficking and who do not operate in the camps of Tindouf”, a way for him to minimize the connection of the Polisario with terrorism.
The involvement of Polisario members in the kidnapping of the three European volunteers in Tindouf is not discarded, wrote on its part Spanish newspaper “La Gaceta”.
Quoting Spanish and American intelligence reports, the newspaper said some Polisario members are reportedly collaborating with or belonging to a jihadist group, and could therefore easily transmit to their accomplices secret information on the humanitarian volunteers and on the convenient timing for their kidnapping.
The Madrid government, which was warned by Spanish and foreign intelligence agencies on the imminence of another kidnapping in the Tindouf camps, repatriated on July 28 Spanish humanitarian workers from the region.
The warning was made by American intelligence services which had just intercepted a phone communication between a MUJAO member and his area chief, talking about the “imminent” kidnapping of 12 European volunteers from the Tindouf camps. Such revelations offer insights into the real relationship between the Polisario and the terrorist groups roaming in the Sahel.