Rabat – After having received a notice from the Algerian army to evacuate their farms in El Arja, eastern Morocco, the governor of Figuig has convened a meeting to address the issue.
On March 16, the governor met with a number of local farmers from Al-Arja, the deputy of the Wlad Sliman, and a group of members of the parliament to discuss the sudden decision of the Algerian government to expel a group of Moroccan farmers from a palm-tree oasis they have owned for generations.
Locals from the city of Figuig received the notice last week, as Algeria, which claims the territory containing farms, called on Moroccan farmers to evacuate the farms before March 18.
The governor indicated that the meeting sought to mitigate the repercussions of a potential Algerian annexation on the situation of farmers and landowners in the region.
Local authorities said they are “committed to studying and finding solution formulas that take into account all the potential solutions on the table,” read the press statement.
The sudden decision has created an uproar in Morocco, with many Moroccans calling on the government to clarify the situation of this border dispute and protect the livelihoods of hundreds of Moroccan families.
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Photos and videos of locals protesting Ageria’s move inside the Moroccan territory have gone viral after the Algerian government informed the local farmers that they have to vacate their farms by March 18.
One such video shows a farmer who owns a big domain of palm trees.
The man emphasized he had been working in the land for three decades and was surprised to be notified by Algerian soldiers to leave the region before March 18.
“Please share this live [streaming]. This is unfortunate,” the man filming said.
In protest against Algeria’s ultimatum, a group of farm owners organized a sit-in last weekend. They carried banners and chanted slogans in defiance of Algeria’s demand that they leave “our lands, livelihood, and ancestral memories” behind.