There Spanish fishermen who were captured by Algerian-backed Polisario Front guerrillas two weeks ago, were freed on Monday (28 November) and returned to Spain.
There Spanish fishermen who were captured by Algerian-backed Polisario Front guerrillas two weeks ago, were freed on Monday (28 November) and returned to Spain. Before leaving for Spain, they were officially handed over at a ceremony in Algiers attended by Spanish, Algerian and Polisario representatives.
SYNOPSIS: The three fishermen -- who had been captured on 13 November and accused of violating West Saharan territorial waters -- were officially freed at the Algiers headquarters of the Polisario Front. Representatives who attended the ceremony called for a solution to the dispute over Western Sahara.
The ceremony was opened by Mr. Ali Makudui, President of the Saharan Red Crescent -- a member of the League of Red Cross Societies. In his opening speech, he expressed sincere hope that the freedom and sovereignty of the Polisarios would always be respected.
Also referring to the rights of the Polisarios, Senor Antonio Massip -- President of the Spanish Friends of the Sahara Association -- urged the Spanish government to help solve the dispute over their former colony. The territory was ceded by Spain to Morocco and Mauritania in 1975. Since then the Polisario Front have been waging a guerrilla war to achieve self-determination.
Mr. Makudui stressed that the fishermen's capture and early release had been intended as a goodwill gesture by the Polisarios. And he expressed hope that the international community would support their aims.
On their arrival at Madrid airport the three fishermen -- Andres Miranda, Marcos Figueroa and Isidro Gutierrez -- said that they had been well treated during their captivity. They also said they wold not fish in Saharan waters again until Spain recognised the Polisarios' right to independence.