According to a report from Rabat, Morocco the group of about 400 Polisario guerrillas who attacked the town of Zouerate in Mauritania last Sunday (1 May) are virtually encircled by Mauritanian troops and will not be able to reach their base in Algeria.
According to a report from Rabat, Morocco the group of about 400 Polisario guerrillas who attacked the town of Zouerate in Mauritania last Sunday (1 May) are virtually encircled by Mauritanian troops and will not be able to reach their base in Algeria. During the raid a French doctor and his wife were killed and six Frenchmen were abducted from a nightclub and taken away as hostages by the guerrilla group. Following the raid the French government airlifted the remaining 700-odd members of the French community out of Zouerate....
SYNOPSIS: .....and on Tuesday (3 May) Mauritanian Head of State Moktar Ould Daddah -- on the right -- had a meeting to discuss the situation with the French Ambassador to Mauritania, Monsieur Henri Gauthier. The report from Rabat says that although fighting between Mauritanian forces and the guerrillas is continuing, operations are hampered by the presence of the hostages and air support has not been called in for fear of harming them. The report adds that there have been two confrontations with the guerrillas since the attack on Sunday.
The French community in Zouerate grew up around the mining of iron ore in the area. On Wednesday (4 May) President Ould Daddah offered his condolences to the families of the French and Mauritanian victims of the Polisario raid. Speaking at the Mauritanian National Assembly, he said that the provisional list of casualties involved six people killed -- three Mauritanian and two French civilians and one Mauritanian soldier -- 20 injured and 10 abducted -- six Frenchmen and four Mauritanians. The Polisario Front is backed by Algeria and is fighting for the independence of the Western Sahara -- a former Spanish territory now divided between Mauritania and Morocco.