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Rabat – The Observatory of Human Rights of Catalonia (Observatori Drets Humans a Catalunya) has condemned the “barbaric act” Algerian soldiers committed when they allegedly burned two Sahrawis alive earlier this month.
The president of the NGO, Richard Checa, told local media that the international community must denounce this “unacceptable and unforgivable act,” Morocco’s state news outlet reported.
“A country like Algeria which claims to be democratic cannot treat a human being in this way,” Checa said.
“The international community and all the institutions competent in the field of human rights cannot leave this act in oblivion,” he continued.
On the night of October 19, a group of Algerian soldiers killed two young Sahrawis, according to Morocco’s state media.
The victims, Moha Ould Hamdi Ould Sweilm and Aliyin Idrissi, were illegally prospecting for gold in a restricted area near the Tindouf camps.
When Algerian soldiers saw the two men, they fired live ammunition at them.
Moha and Aliyin attempted to flee by hiding in a dry well.
The Algerian soldiers then set fire to the well, burning the two young Sahrawis alive.
“All human beings, wherever they are, must fight against this barbarism, this act which must be denounced,” Checa stressed.
Sahrawis in Tindouf protested the alleged murder, which received little international media coverage.
One man active in gold prospecting in the region condemned the act, saying Algerian authorities should rather arrest or imprison unauthorized gold prospectors instead of burning them alive.
“We are not in Burma or Bangladesh in order to be treated in this manner,” the Sahrawi man argued, speaking to local media.
Sahrawi gold miners usually face prison sentences and fines if they are caught prospecting near Tindouf, where Algeria has long banned gold mining.
However, dire living conditions and meager employment opportunities in the Tindouf camps push some people to bypass such restrictions in an attempt to support themselves and their families.