The Moroccan Army launched a military operation in the demilitarized strip of the extreme south of the Sahara. According to Rabat, Moroccan Armed Forces they have deployed in the Guerguerat area, frontier with Mauritania, to guarantee the free movement of people and goods, after weeks of blocking by Sahrawi activists and of “provocations” attributed from Rabat to the Polisario Front.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces has announced in a statement that after the blockade carried out by “about sixty people” and, given the limitation that it has meant for circulation through this pass – considered “illegal” by the Polisario – a “security cordon has been established “.
The operation, according to the Army “it is not offensive nor does it have warlike intent “In such a way that it is intended “to avoid all contact with civilians and not to resort to arms except in the case of legitimate defense”, reads the statement collected by the official MAP news agency.
Response like “is due”
For its part, the Polisario has accused Morocco of violate the ceasefire agreement signed in 1991 and he has announced that his forces have responded to a Moroccan aggression in Guerguerat. In a statement sent to Efe, the Polisario has assured that “the Moroccan Army has opened three breaches and crossed the separation wall” built in the desert, considered the longest in the world. The forces of the Saharawi People’s Liberation Army responded properly to the attack, “the note added without other details.
The note of the Armed forces has arrived accompanied by another from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in which the Government has accused the Polisario of carrying out “serious and unacceptable provocations” that justify that the Moroccan authorities have decided to act “with respect to their powers” and “in perfect conformity with international law”.
The Government, which has not alluded to the military operation, has alleged that it has “no other option than to assume its responsibilities” to guarantee free movement in Guerguerat and put an end to some blockades that began on October 21. The PolisarioHe has warned that he will be the one who assumes “all the responsibilities and consequences” of what may happen.
It is blocking, as well as the alleged “harassment” of members of the UN peacekeeping mission (MINURSO), in Rabat’s opinion constitute “true premeditated acts of destabilization that alter the status of the area, violate military agreements and represent a real threat for the maintenance of the ceasefire “.
The Moroccan Foreign Ministry He pointed out that during these weeks he has been in contact with both neighboring countries and the United Nations, relying on the “good offices” of both MINURSO and the UN Secretary General, António Guterres. However, calls for calm “have been in vain,” he added.
The Polisario Front, which controls the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), already denounced on Monday the sending of Moroccan forces to the area of the Guerguerat pass and warned that it would respond “firmly” to any “aggression”, warning that it would mean ” the end of the ceasefire “and the beginning of” a new total war in the region. “