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Two Spaniards and an Italian working at a refugee camp in western Algeria were kidnapped in October. Malainin Lakhal?? writes about how Morocco has used the kidnappings in their propaganda against The Polisario Front.

The Moroccan plot related to the kidnapping of three European aid workers from Saharawi refugee camps on 22 October is
now becoming more decipherable.
Three news stories, surprisingly published by the French news agency,
AFP, and some Arabic media outlets famous for supporting the Moroccan
thesis in Western Sahara, were enough to give additional support to
the analysis we developed in previous articles, in which we claimed
the potential involvement of the Moroccan secret services, and
possibly the French, in the ordeal of Aenoa, Enrico and Rosella.

The first news story we refer to was exclusively published by AFP on
the evening of 30 October under the title: ‘Three Qaeda hostages
seized last week alive: mediator’. The news agency reported the so-called
statements of a mysterious ‘mediator speaking on condition of
anonymity’, through whom the agency advocates the Moroccan propaganda
that aims to associate the Polisario Front with terrorism.

This ‘mediator’ asserted that Al-Qaida was actually behind the kidnapping,
yet, he alleged that ‘ten unarmed AQIM militants had entered the
Sahrawi refugee camp in Tindouf, western Algeria, where sympathisers
of the Polisario Front gave them weapons and helped them seek out the
hostages’. The aim of alleging that Al-Qaida has got accomplices in
the camps is easy to understand if the reader has been
following the development of Moroccan propaganda over the last few years.

The second important news story, again surprisingly published exclusively by AFP, says that ‘Spain submits to Al-Qaida and extradites a
Mauritanian family to Nouakchott’. AFP stressed that ‘experts related
the extradition of the Mauritanian family to Madrid’s attempts to free
its nationals kidnapped by Al-Qaida from the Tindouf camps’. It is well-known that the ‘release’ of this family has been one of
Al-Qaida’s conditions in previous negotiations with Spain to release
other Spanish aid-workers kidnapped in Mauritania in 2009 before Spain
paid the necessary ransom to free them, of course thanks to Moroccan
and Malian mediations, and possibly French ones too. We all remember
how the official Moroccan press agency, MAP, made use of that tragedy,
pretending that the Mauritanian terrorist, ‘Omar Sahraoui’, was a
member of Polisario, using the confusion that his second name,
’Sahraoui’, causes. Of course, that Moroccan fiction didn’t last long, because his real identity was revealed when Mauritania had
to release him. But still the aim of
the Moroccan propaganda is to create confusion, and mislead public
opinion, and it usually succeeds thanks to its expertise in news
distortion. What imports us in this news story is the fact that the Spanish
government has already started negotiations with the abductors. We
have already heard that the Spaniards started the negotiations on the
second or third day after the kidnapping. The negotiations with the
terrorists thus started as a ‘coincidence’, with Spanish Foreign
Affairs Minister Trinedad Jimenez’s visit to Morocco.

The last important news story that completes the picture was actually ‘written’ by a Moroccan journalist close to
the Islamic movement in Morocco, Hassan El Achraf, who published a
story on 31 October under the attractive title of: ‘The dynamic of
the Arabic spring: a Saharawi opposition coordination proposes itself
as an alternative to Polisario’. This story was published by the
Arabic pages of ‘Alarabia’ and ‘Acharq Al Awsat’, two media outlets
famous for their alignment to the Moroccan thesis in Western Sahara. It
was also published in some youth forums and blogs on the net, aiming to
create confusion in the minds of young Saharawis and Arabs who
are following the developments of the different Arab revolutions.

These three stories affirm the analysis we developed, like many other
Saharawi and Spanish writers in different articles, in claiming that the
terrorist attack against the Saharawi refugee camps aim to distort
the image of the Polisario Front and prepare the needed ground for other future
attacks against the Saharawis to disrupt the coming congress the
liberation movement is preparing to organise in the liberated zone of

The aim is still to feed the two main ideas of Moroccan
propaganda: to associate the Polisario Front with terrorism by creating
confusion, as we explained above, using the international fashion of
the so-called war against terrorism to violate the political rights of
the Saharawi people and get Western support for Rabat’s attempts to
impose autonomy on the last colony in Africa.

The second target Rabat is aiming at is the question of the
representivity of the Saharawi liberation movement of all Saharawi
people. Morocco is trying to
convince the UN and its allies that the Polisario Front is not the only
representative of the Saharawi people. Rabat has helped some Saharawi
renegades to create fake ‘political movements’, such as Khat Chahid, a
certain Democratic Party (who counts only one adherent so far), and
the recently declared ‘coordination of opposition’ that has been
developed as an idea in the Moroccan media for the last two years. And again, we still believe that the coming days will reveal more
details about the Moroccan plans and schemes against the coming
congress of the Polisario Front. Morocco is able to commit more operations
in the camps, such as inciting some of its agents or renegades to
organise fake demonstrations in the refugee camps in support of
Morocco’s plan of autonomy. Rabat has already used the former
Polisario policeman, Mustapha Salma. It is buying the services of more
persons like him who are ready to sell their spirits to the devil in
exchange for a few dollars more to act against their own people and
the future of their homeland. But, it is a very small group of
opportunists and like in all other experiences of liberation they
are usually under the spotlight of the enemy, and are always
presented as leaders and political actors as long as the coloniser
needs them but once the peoples win the struggle, history leaves them
behind in oblivion.


* Malainin Lakhal
is secretary general of the Saharawi Journalists and Writers Union
* Please send comments to editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org or comment online at Pambazuka News.