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Western Sahara

Frente Polisaro calls on UN to end Morocco's "colonial practices"

Article published on the 2008-07-23 Latest update 2008-07-23 16:35 TU

Mohamed Abdelaziz, head of the Frente Polisario(File Photo: AFP)

Mohamed Abdelaziz, head of the Frente Polisario
(File Photo: AFP)

The Frente Polisario, the group representing the Saharawi people, called on the UN on Wednesday to put an end to what they call Morocco's colonial practices after an outbreak in violence in the Einterfet region near Dakhla. The group's leader, Mohamed Abdelaziz, described the attacks in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.

"Several dozen Saharawis were injured, others arrested and one person is missing," Abdelaziz said in the letter.

"Several cars and shops, belonging to Saharawi fishermen, were burned and destroyed by groups of settlers with direct links to the Moroccan security services" overnight Monday, according to Abdelaziz.

He added that it was part of a "premeditated plan, carried out deliverately in the planned absence of the Moroccan police."

State-run Moroccan news agency MAP reported that a "brawl broke out Monday evening at a fish market," citing local authorities. It added that individuals ransacked then burned down the fish hall and five cars were torched.

The UN maintains a presence in the disputed territory, in an effort to monitor the UN-brokered 1991 cease-fire between the Frente Polisario and Moroccan troops. 

Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony that was illegally occupied by neighbouring Morocco in 1975. Its citizens reside within the Western Sahara and in refugee camps on the other side of the border with Algeria.

The territory is still under dispute. The Western Sahara is a member of the African Union, and is recognised by a number of countries.

The UN continues to broker talks between the two parties. The fifth round of talks, scheduled for Fall 2008 has been delayed, UN spokesperson Michele Montas said Wednesday.