• Short Summary

    More than a dozen Spanish soldiers who were captured by Saharan rebels earlier this year, were released on Tuesday (9 September).

  • Description

    More than a dozen Spanish soldiers who were captured by Saharan rebels earlier this year, were released on Tuesday (9 September).

    The thirteen soldiers, captured last May, were handed over to representatives of the Spanish Government at an Algerian Government villa.

    The thirteen men were captured by members of the Algerian-based Polisario Front which is fighting for complete independence of the Spanish Sahara.

    Both Morocco and Mauritania claim the Spanish Sahara. It is believed the prisoners were released in Algeria because the Algerian Government favours self determination for the 60,000 people of the Spanish Sahara.

    The soldiers, who included four army lieutenants, were captured when the native troops in their unit defected to the rebels.

    SYNOPSIS: Spanish prisoners who were captured by rebel forces in the Sahara earlier this year were released in Algeria on Tuesday. The prisoners were captured by the Algerian-based Polisario Front. Its General Secretary, Mr. Wali, made a statement to the waiting government officials and newsmen.

    The prisoners, looking slightly bewildered by their sudden release, gazed on silently as the statement was made. Amongst them were four lieutenants. All were experienced army officers. A representative of the Spanish Government. Emilio Cassinello, replied to Mr. Wali.

    The Soldiers were captured last May after the native troops in their patrol units defected to the rebels. The Polisario Front is fighting for the independence of the Spanish Sahara which is claimed by both Morocco and Mauritania. Algeria favours self determination for the nation's sixty thousand inhabitants. It is believed that for this reason the prisoners were released in Algeria.

    Amongst those present to greet the men on their release was the Spanish Ambassador, Jose Ramar Sobrado, who immediately embraced them. The Ambassador told them that he was "overjoyed" to greet them on their release.

    After their release the prisoners spoke to reporters and told them of their ordeal. An earlier report said a Spanish business man, Senor Antonio Martin, who was captured by the Polisarin Front last April, had also been released along with the soldiers. However, a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry said the report was incorrect and that Senor Martin was still being held by the rebels. Senor Martin's wife said she had recently seen film of her husband in captivity and that he looked fit and well. However, it is not known if there are any plans to obtain his release. The soldiers were released only after the Spanish Foreign Minister had flown to Algeria and had lengthy discussions with the President of Algeria, Houri Boumadienne. It is believed that the Algerian Government sympathises with the aims of the Polisario Front and approached the rebels on behalf of the Spanish Government, to obtain the release of the captured soldiers, and Senor Martin. The released soldiers were flown back to Madrid where they are being treated for shock in a military hospital.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment