Over nine years after his kidnapping by Algerian intelligence agents, a leading member of Polisario died in an Algerian prison, said an ex-Polisario officer.
Rabat – Polisario leading member Ahmed El Khalil, who was “kidnapped” by Algerian intelligence agents over 9 years ago, died on Wednesday, according to former Polisario officer Mustapha Salma Oueld Sidi Mouloud.
“Paradoxically, the deceased was arrested after his appointment in charge of the human rights file under the Polisario Front,” Mustafa Salma wrote on his Facebook.
Polsiario tasked El Khalil with human rights in the Tindouf camps in Algeria in 2009.
Mustafa Salma, an anti-Polisario activist, said that he knew El Khalil well in the early 1990s when Salma was a general manager of the judicial police in the Tindouf camps.
Mustafa Salma described receiving instructions from the Polisario presidency to arrest El Khalil. “I knew that the detainee had been jailed and hidden by the [Algerian] intelligence services for almost a month after I consulted [El Khalil’s] case.”
He added that the Polisario’s charges against El Khalil could not be proven, “and I suggested that he should be released.”
Mustafa Salma said that Polisario “insisted on turning him into the [Algerian] police.”
He also recalled that an Algerian intelligence vehicle brought El Khalil to Polisario after he had spent a month in detention.
“I summoned [El Khalil] to my office and I handed him the charge sheet against him signed by the Polisario presidency, and I told him that I was ordered to keep him with us and that we had nothing to do with his case,” Mustafa Salma wrote.
He added that two months later, Polisario asked the judicial police to “release him after a settlement between the elders of the tribe and the Polisario presidency.”
Shortly after, Algerian intelligence services kidnapped El Khalil.
In 2017, the family of El Khalil called on the United Nations to pressure Algeria and the separatist group to reveal El Khalil’s fate.
Mustafa Salma, a former Polisario commanding officer, has been criticizing Polisario and Algeria for the situation in Western Sahara.
He also expressed satisfaction with the UN Resolution 2440 adopted on October 31. He said that the resolution “condoned everything Morocco is doing in the Saharan regions west of the berm.”
Despite the firm language of the resolution, Polisario has conducted provocative maneuvers again, defying calls from both Morocco and the UN against any change to the status quo in the region.
It is not the first time Polisario has been accused of provocative actions or kidnapping. In 2018, Spanish news outlet El Confidencial said that Polisario members were involved in the kidnappings of Spanish citizens working in the Phosboucraa site, Laayoune, in 1974.