The former Polisario member has spoken out about human rights violations at the hands of the Polisario several times. Is his voice is being heard or it is just words on paper?
Rabat – Former leading Polisario member, Mustafa Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud, has spoken out again about the Polisario Front’s exploitation of Sahrawis and silencing of opposition voices in the Tindouf camps, where thousands of Sahrawis live in allegedly unbearable conditions.
Mustafa Salma told Morocco World News about Polisario’s dictatorship structure, reiterating his previous statements that Sahrawis continue to face oppression and pressure to remain silent.
“The Polisario Front calls the desert camps in Algeria [Tindouf] departments and municipalities inhabited by Sahrawi citizens, governed by a so-called Sahrawi government,” Mustafa Salma said.
The Sahrawi added that his comrades in Tindouf are subject to the laws of the self-proclaimed Sahrawi republic, “announced by the Front on February 27, 1976.”
He emphasized that the Polisario Front put laws and a constitution in place without holding a popular referendum seeking the opinions or approval of Sahrawis living in the region.
The Polisario Front’s move to enforce their “authorities” as the sole legitimate power to govern Sahrawis means that the camps’ residents must abide its political line if they want to survive, Mustapha Salma explained.
He emphasized that Sahrawis have “no rights” to choose their rulers nor the laws that govern them, because the Polisario Front has hijacked all possibilities for democratic process and placed its own leaders in “government.”
“The leadership of the Polisario Front distributed the high positions to its leading members, starting with the ‘president’ who is the Secretary-General of the Polisario Front [Ibrahim Ghali], and members of the ‘government’ and ‘governors’ and leaders of the ‘military sectors and parliament.’”
He said that the most politically important event in the camps is “national congress,”a meeting that takes place every four years. The recent 15th Congress wrapped up with the re-election of Polisario’s leader Ibrahim Ghali as a secretary-general of the front for a second term.
For Mustafa Salma, the people who attend the congress, estimated at fewer than 2,000, impose themselves as unelected representatives of a population of more than 100,000 Sahrawis.
The Polisario considers any moves against its structure a “violation of the constitution,” Mustafa Salma underlined.
“The Polisario by virtue of the constitution is the only permitted organization, and the Polisario laws give the group sovereignty and authority over the self-proclaimed state.”
The situation in the Tindouf camps, and the conditions in which Sahrawis live, urged Mustafa Salma to speak on behalf of his family, detainees in Polisario-run prisons, activists, and those who the Polisario has forcibly ‘disappeared’ for attempting to speak against the breakaway group’s structure.
For years now, Mustafa Salma has been sharing the statements of detainees and activists and condemning human rights violations in the camps without any response from the international community.
The conflict will continue
The recent statements from Mustafa Salma followed a similar condemnatory message aimed at the group. On December 24, the former Polisario members spoke about how Sahrawis are “hostage” to the terrorist politics of the group.
He also spotlighted how the Polisario system contradicts all human rights laws and rules of a “democratic system.”
Mustafa Salma echoed his previous statements to MWN, emphasizing how the Polisario and its backer and patron, Algeria, would abandon Sahrawis who oppose their regime.
“The people of the so-called Sahrawi republic live on an Algerian soil, and the Algerian state recognizes, supports and houses the Polisario, only,” he said.
Mustafa Salma recalled that whoever dares to oppose Algeria and the Polisario Front and try to leave the camps have no one to shelter them, but God.
The Polisario Front, with the support of Algeria, pushes Sahrawis to believe that its it the only “legitimate representative of Sahrawis,” he said
Mustafa Salma underlined that nobody knows when or how the Sahrawis will breakaway from the Polisario’s political and physical control.
He believes that all parties involved in the conflict will be defending their position, without the conflict reaching a dead end anytime soon.
“Algeria is doing the impossible to get everyone who violates the Polisario front out of the camps in various ways to remain the exclusive representative of the Sahrawis who are fighting Morocco,” he said.
Mauritania, also a party to the conflict, is committed to preventing Sahrawis from engaging in any political activity on its soil because of its “neutral position” on the conflict, according to Mustafa Salma.
“And Morocco, which considered the issue of the Sahara and issue of sacred territorial integrity, does not support any Sahrawi opinion that does not recognize the Moroccan Sahara,” he added.
He also emphasized that Algeria will never engage in the UN-led political process as a fully responsible party, as it continues to style itself as a mere observer and considers the Polisario Front the only “legitimate” body to represent Sahrawis in the region.
For the Sahrawi, Algeria will keep pushing and supporting the Polisario Front to claim independence over the region. Algeria can use all its power to continue to support the breakaway group “even if it is had to dress monkeys in the Jijel forests armor wraps and introduce them to the world as Sahrawis calling for the self-determination of the Sahrawi people.”