The Algerian-backed Polisario Front guerrilla group, which has proclaimed a government covering part of the Western Sahara, is to release two French teachers taken as hostages nine months ago.
SV INTERIOR Left of picture to right: Mr. Sayed, head of Algiers Polisario Office; Major Brahim Ghali, Polisario Defence Minister; and translator
SV Ghali speaking in Arabic
CU ZOOM OUT FROM French Consul TO newsmen taking notes
SV Ghali speaking to translator
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Background: The Algerian-backed Polisario Front guerrilla group, which has proclaimed a government covering part of the Western Sahara, is to release two French teachers taken as hostages nine months ago. The announcement was made at a new conference in Algiers, the Algerian capital, on Wednesday (September 29) by Brahim Ghali. He is the Defence Minister in the Polisario Government, which is trying to gain control of the former Spanish territory from Morocco and Mauritania.
SYNOPSIS: The teachers, Pierre Seguro and Jean-Paul Dief, taken by Polisario troops last December, would be set free in fifteen to 20 days, Mr.Ghali told reporters. He said the two men were with a unit of Moroccan soldiers when they were captured.
Because the Polisario wanted to develop friendly relations with the people of France and the Sahara, it had been decided that the two Frenchmen would be given better treatment than the other Moroccan and Mauritanian prisoners, and to release them. Major Ghali explained that the Polisario had been reorganising its army since the party congress in August. He also sketched out the Polisario's vie of the latest military and political developments in the Sahara struggle. He accused the Moroceans, who jointly administer the territory with Mauritania, of using severe repressive measures against the Saharan people.
The French Consul in Algeria was at the conference for the announcement of the release of the Frenchmen.
Major Ghali said it would be in France's interest to stay neutral over the Saharan conflict.