Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Discontent grows among Saharan refugees

Refugee in Laayoune, West Sahara

Discontent grows among Saharan refugees

Author: Karlos Zurutuza, Western Algeria
Editor: Rob Mudge

The survival of the Western Sahara people as a whole is on the brink after the abduction of three foreign workers. It's yet another challenge for a nation displaced in the Algerian desert for 37 years, and counting.
A nightly curfew for foreigners starting at 7 pm; compulsory military escort for any journey by road; new walls being raised next to Algerian watch towers and radars and so on…In the Sahara refugee camps in Tindouf, Western Algeria, routines and the landscape have been changing by the day since the first and only kidnapping, seven months ago, in the territory under the Polisario Front's control.
Western Sahara was the object of a decolonization process interrupted in 1976, when Spain - its former colonial power - left the land the size of the UK in the hands of Morocco and Mauritania. Since a ceasefire agreement in 1991, most of the territory - including the entire Atlantic coastline - has been under Morocco's control, whereas a small, largely uninhabited and economically useless desert area - known as the "liberated territories" - remains under the Polisario Front's rule.
The UN recognizes the Polisario Front (a national liberation movement working for the independence of Western Sahara from Morocco - the ed.) as the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people. However, almost all of the Sahrawi people - between 200,000 and 250,000 - today live in Algerian refugee camps in Tindouf. (...)
... links to read more:,,16069112,00.html

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