Sahrawi Tribal Leaders Embrace Morocco, Reject Polisario, Algeria

Laayoune, Morocco. Photo: David Stanley/Flickr

Rabat – A group of Sahrawi tribal leaders representing peoples in Morocco’s southern provinces have reaffirmed their attachment to Morocco and rejected Polisario and Algeria. 

Tribal leaders of the Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra region published the remarks on Thursday, according to Morocco’s state media. 

The statement condemns “the creation of puppet entities in the Sahara aimed at undermining the territorial integrity of the Kingdom and its constitutional and human rights gains.” 

The attempts of the separatist Polisario Front to create puppet entities in the Sahara not only represent acts of provocation but attest to “the weakness and falsity of the allegations” of Polisario and its financer Algeria.   

The statement comes after Morocco’s general prosecutor at the Court of Appeal of Laayoune ordered an investigation into a pro-Polisario “conference” in late September. Polisario’s “official” news agency reported on September 20 that “activists” participated in an event in Laayoune to challenge Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

After the “anti-occupation” event in Laayoune, the UN issued a warning to Polisario against its maneuvers in Guergeurat, a town in the buffer zone between Western Sahara and Mauritania. The militant group disrupted civil and commercial traffic in Guergeurat, which is under strict surveillance by MINURSO, the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara.

The tribal leaders’ statement similarly condemned Polisario’s provocations in Guerguerat. 

Read also: Polisario’s Attachment to ‘Buried’ Dreams Still Hobbling UN-Led Process

King Mohammed VI’s development of the south has produced security, stability, democracy, and respect for human rights, they stressed. With its “desperate maneuvers,” the Polisario Front exposes its intent to endanger the stability and the dynamic of development in Morocco’s southern provinces.

“Moroccans from Tangier to Lagouira as well as the international community have become accustomed to this kind of provocative act,” the tribal leaders said. 

The purpose of these maneuvers, they continued, is to turn sub-Saharan African countries against the strategic interests of Morocco. However, attempts to destabilize the region and attacks on Morocco’s interests are futile, the Sahrawi tribal leaders underlined. 

They concluded by reiterating their “unconditional commitment” to defending Morocco’s territorial integrity and their support for the Autonomy Plan as a viable means to end the dispute in Western Sahara. 

Polisario claims to represent the interests of the Sahrawi people, but the Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra tribal leaders are not the first with a local perspective to denounce the Front in favor of Morocco’s leadership. 

In June, a former Polisario supporter came forward to expose the separatist group’s lies, particularly about the Tindouf camps. Hamada El Bihi said less than 20% of Tindouf camp residents are Sahrawis from Laayoune, Es-smara, or Boujdour.

He also said he spent 40 years in the camps without the right to vote in any election and witnessed oppression and arbitrary arrests.

Under the orders of Algeria, Polisario has been “selling lies” to perpetuate the territorial dispute in Western Sahara and undermine Morocco’s sovereignty, El Bihi stated. 

Read also: Moroccan Independence Party Angers Polisario at Mass Event in Laayoune