Algeria accuses Morocco of 'assassinating' civilians in W.Sahara

Algeria accuses Morocco of 'assassinating' civilians in W.Sahara
Algeria accused Morocco of killing civilians in Western Sahara and acts of war, and tensions between the two countries continue to run high.
2 min read
A drone attack killed a man and child last week [Getty]

Algeria's special envoy for the Western Sahara on Sunday accused Morocco of "assassinations targeting civilians" outside its "internationally recognised borders", following a recent drone attack in the disputed territory, state media reported.

Moroccan authorities "carry out acts of war... and commit extrajudicial assassinations targeting civilians" in the Western Sahara, Amar Belani said, quoted by the official APS news agency.

Alleged attacks have been undertaken "using sophisticated weapon systems outside (Morocco's) internationally recognised borders", Belani added.

The Western Sahara dispute pits Morocco against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, which fought a war of independence with Rabat from 1975 to 1991.

Last week, a Sahrawi website close to the Polisario said a man was killed and a child was wounded when a drone attack targeted a family in a civilian vehicle.

Expert Akram Kharief of specialist website Menadefense confirmed the report to AFP.

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Morocco views the Western Sahara, with access to lucrative phosphate resources and rich Atlantic fisheries, as part of its sovereign territory.

It has offered limited autonomy to the former Spanish colony but rejects calls for independence, while the Polisario demands an independence referendum on the basis of a 1991 deal that included a ceasefire.

But the deal collapsed in 2020, after Moroccan forces entered no man's land to break a Sahrawi blockade of a highway linking Moroccan-controlled territory with Mauritania.

Shortly after, the US administration of then-president Donald Trump recognised Morocco's sovereignty over the territory in a quid pro quo for Rabat's normalisation of ties with Israel.

Belani said the Moroccan authorities "violate daily the military agreements signed by the two parties to the conflict and endorsed by the (UN) Security Council".

The UN's new Western Sahara envoy Staffan De Mistura toured the region earlier this month as part of a bid to restart negotiations to resolve the conflict.

Morocco has called for negotiations to involve not only the Polisario, but also Algeria and Mauritania.

But Algiers is opposed to such talks, advocating instead for bilateral negotiations between Rabat and the Polisario.