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Defector: Polisario in partnership with Al Qaida August 10, 2010

Posted by saharanews in Uncategorized.
Defector: Polisario in partnership with Al Qaida

CAIRO — The separatist Polisario movement has again been linked to Al Qaida in North Africa.

A senior defector has asserted that the Algerian-backed Polisario was cooperating with Al Qaida Organization in the Islamic Maghreb in the disputed Western Sahara.

Ahmed Ould Mohammed Fadel, a former Polisario commander in the refugee camps in Tindouf, said Polisario has been a supplier of weapons and other equipment to AQIM.

“There are meeting points of interest that influence their operations,” Fadel, former director of Polisario’s 3rd military region, said.

In an interview on Moroccan state television on Aug. 5, Fadel said AQIM and Polisario were essentially partners in the massive weapons smuggling in the Western Sahara and neighboring regions. He suggested that Polisario was involved in AQIM’s campaign to abduct Westerners in the Sahara.

“How could Al Qaida travel to Mauritania to kidnap Europeans without the knowledge of the other [Polisario]?” Fadel asked.

Morocco has sought to link Polisario to AQIM. In 2009, Algerian officials acknowledged that elements within Polisario were helping AQIM in smuggling from Mauritania to Algeria.

“We know full well that Polsiario trades in arms in the greater Sahara region,” Fadel asked. “But the question is whom does this arms trade benefit?”

Polisario has demanded independence of Western Sahara, an area of 266,000 square kilometers, 80 percent of which is under Moroccan control. Rabat, in a proposal endorsed by France and the United States, has offered autonomy to the disputed region.



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