• Short Summary

    The first of a group of 449 French women and children, evacuated from the Mauritanian mining town of Zouerate after a Polisario guerrilla raid on Sunday, (1 May) were flown back to France on Tuesday (3 May) night.

  • Description

    The first of a group of 449 French women and children, evacuated from the Mauritanian mining town of Zouerate after a Polisario guerrilla raid on Sunday, (1 May) were flown back to France on Tuesday (3 May) night.

    Mauritanian President Moktar Ould Daddah has accused Algeria of arming and training the guerrillas. In a newspaper interview on Tuesday he said the Polisario did not exist and the raiders were mercenaries launched against Mauritania by Algeria. French Foreign Minister Louis de Guiringaud also implied that Algeria was to blame for the Zouerate raid in a television interview on Tuesday. In Algiers the official Algerian Presse service said the French Ambassador was later summoned to the Algerian Foreign Ministry to explain Monsieur de Guiringaud's comments.

    SYNOPSIS: Relatives and friends of the evacuees gathered to greet them at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Earlier they had been flown from Zouerate to the port of Nouadhibou in northwest Mauritania, in military transport planes sent in by the French government.

    About 700 French nationals lived in Zouerate, helping in the mining of valuable iron-ore deposits. One woman from among the group returning to Paris on Tuesday said that she had witnessed the abduction of six of her compatriots by the guerrillas.

    She said that the Frenchmen had been taken from a nightclub, escorted to a Land Rover and driven off towards the desert. The same woman said that the fighting had lasted between two and three hours and the Mauritanian defenders had been slow in reacting to the attack.

    The Polisario guerrillas are backed by Algeria and are fighting for the independence of the Western Sahara. The territory has rich phosphate deposits, was formerly administered by Spain, but is now divided between Mauritania and Morocco. Other evacuees said on their arrival in Paris that the guerrillas had concentrated their attack on the European quarters next to the mining installations. During the raid ??? 36 year-old French doctor and his wife were killed.

    The evacuees said that Dr and Madame Rene Fichet had probably fallen under a hail of bullets while seeking shelter. Earlier reports said the couple died when a shell hit their car.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA3FEAWSXCXEWSKEPU6P0EIGP2X
    Media URN:
    VLVA3FEAWSXCXEWSKEPU6P0EIGP2X
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    04/05/1977
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:01:49:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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