A senior Polisario military commander and other militants were killed east of Morocco’s sand wall
Rabat – Morocco’s armed forces have reportedly killed a Polisario commander in a military operation in the east of the Western Sahara region.
Polisario commander Addah Al-Bendir was struck by what reports claim to be a drone strike in a military operation that targeted Al-Bendir as he was leading an attempted raid on Moroccan positions along Morocco’s sand wall.
Al-Bendir and other military leaders in his convoy died on their way back to Algeria. International media reports claim that a drone strike, yet to be confirmed by Rabat, reportedly struck the vehicle carrying the convoy’s leadership, killing Al-Bendir and other leadership figures on board.
Al-Bendir, a 42-year veteran of the Algerian-backed Polisario, held the rank of “head of the gendarmerie” in the Tifariti region. Polisario press initially reported the military commander’s “martyrdom,” confirming his death to AFP. However, moments after publishing the news, the press service removed it from its official publication.
The Polisario commander “was on a military mission in the liberated zone of Rouss Irni, in Tifariti,” Polisario press, and AFP reported. That mission was cut short when a military operation directed by Morocco’s armed forces reportedly struck the Polisario convoy and killed the operation’s leadership as they retreated back to Algeria.
Still, much remains unclear about what would be the first confirmed military operation using a drone strike by Morocco against Polisario forces.
Reports on the location of the drone strike against Polisario differ, with some reporting that the military operation took place in the Tifariti region in the Western Sahara desert, while others claimed it took place in Tougui, across the border from Tindouf.
While Rabat is yet to confirm the drone strike, the news was confirmed by Polisario operatives to AFP and reported in Le Monde and Baron’s. Still, Algerian and Polisario news sources remained noticeably quiet about the drone strike, despite earlier confirming the military operation.
The exact location and death toll of Morocco’s military operation against Polisario is yet to be confirmed, including if drone equipment was used.
While Polisario press has repeatedly reported on exchanges of fire between Morocco’s military and the Algerian-backed separatists, yesterday’s operation would be the first confirmed offensive strike against Polisario leadership since it declared the 1991 ceasefire “null and void” in November.
According to Polisario sources the military operation took place “about a hundred kilometers from the site of the attack on the Moroccans,” striking the convoy as they retreated back to Algeria, the country that hosts, finances, and arms the separatist force.