Rabat - Armed Polisario elements have besieged a MINURSO-controlled site in Mijek in Western Sahara, local news outlets have reported.
Rabat – Armed Polisario elements have besieged a MINURSO-controlled site in Mijek in Western Sahara, local news outlets have reported.
The separatist front’s controversial move comes as thousands gathered in the vicinity of a zone under the control of the UN mission to protest human rights abuses and repression of political dissent in the Polisario-controlled Lahmada-Tindouf Camps.
Mijak is located east of the Moroccan defense wall in Western Sahara, which makes it a part of the Military Agreement 1 and a no-go area for Polisario.
The move risks an escalation of hostilities that may jeopardize the already-announced UN-led roundtable expected to convene Morocco, Polisario, Algeria, and Mauritania December 5-6.
Eyewitnesses in the besieged area have said that “MINURSO head officials are currently negotiating with the Polisario assaulters” to avoid an unnecessary return to hostilities.
The front’s forceful response to the ongoing sit-in near the Tindouf camps is far from a new occurrence. In a press release earlier this week, protestors at the besieged rally point expressed concern over Polisario’s resort to violence to crack down on dissent and anti-front demonstrations.
“We want to draw the UN’s attention to the misery and ordeal we experience daily in Tindouf,” the press release said.
Moulay Laafo Aabid, Khatri Said Hamdi, and Hammoudi Bechari Saleh, leaders of the anti-Polisario protests who signed the press release, have said that Polisario’s brutal response will not deter them from denouncing the “atrocious living conditions” in the Tindouf camps.
The Polisario Front controlled the Tindouf camps, in southwestern Algeria. Sahrawis living in the camps have long denounced the lack of access to necessities.
According to Hamada El Bihi, a former Polisario member, the Tindouf Camps host many nationalities from the Shara desert.
More than 80% of the population is composed of Tuareg people and people from Mali, Algeria, Libya, Niger, and Chad.