This is not the first time that the Polisario has threatened to take action against the race and its organizers for crossing Guerguerat, a buffer zone in Western Sahara.
The breakaway group submitted a letter to the Secretary-General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, condemning the Africa Eco Race’s route
The race kicked off in Monaco on January 5 and will end in Dakar on January 19.
The participants are following a prescribed route that will take them through the southern regions of Morocco in Western Sahara, the gateway to sub-Saharan Africa.
The racers are set to enter Moroccan Sahara on Friday, January 10, and will have to pass through Morocco’s berm (security wall) and across the buffer strip in Guerguerat on Monday, January 13.
The Polisario Front claims that allowing the racers to cross the buffer strip would constitute a “violation” of the UN resolutions.
The breakaway group concluded its letter by calling on the Security Council to take responsibility and threatening to “respond resolutely to any actions that aim to undermine the integrity of Western Sahara.”
Morocco bears responsibility for the “consequences that may result” from the racers crossing the berm, the Polisario threatened.
The letter is not the only threat the Polisario Front have issued.
Throughout the years of the race, Polisario members have sent similar letters threatening to impede the progress of the participants.
In January 2019, the breakaway group threatened to disrupt the Monaco-Dakar rally.
While in January 2018, the Polisario “authorities” sent two vehicles to stop the race. They intercepted two race participants.
While claiming that allowing race participants to enter the buffer strip would constitute a “violation,” the Polisario Front continues to carry out provocative operations east of the berm, despite warnings from the UN and Morocco.
In December 2019, Polisario defied the UN by holding meetings in Tifariti, east of Morocco’s defense belt, or berm.
The Polisario claims Tifariti as a “liberated” region.
The meetings came just two months after UN chief informed the Security Council of Polisario’s violations in the restricted areas in a report on the situation in the region.
The UN warned the Security Council that Polisario “recently constructed” facilities in various locations outside of the restricted area.”
“A logistics hub consisting of 10 new buildings located inside the restricted area near Bir Lahlou, which had already been declared a violation in 2017 and included in the list of long-standing violations in 2018, remained operational,” the report said.