Morocco formally took over the remainder of the Western Sahara on Tuesday (14 August) and announced it had killed 407 Polisario guerrillas in the biggest battle it has fought so far in the disputed territory.
Morocco formally took over the remainder of the Western Sahara on Tuesday (14 August) and announced it had killed 407 Polisario guerrillas in the biggest battle it has fought so far in the disputed territory. A government communique said that 100 Moroccan troops also died in the six-hour battle on Saturday, at Bir Anzaren -- 75 kilometres (45 miles) east of Dakhla, the capital of Tiris El Gharbia, the southernmost sector of the territory. The announcement came on the same day (14 August) as Mauritania and Algeria restored normal relations at the end of their three-year conflict over sovereignity right to the former Spanish colony. Meanwhile, the Algerian-backed Polisario Front has given 61 prisoners back to the Mauritanian authorities in a gesture enforcing a peace agreement the guerillas have signed with the Mauritanian government over the weekend (11/12 August).
SYNOPSIS: The Polisario Front took the soldiers prisoners during the attack on Tich-la, a guerrilla operation against occupying Mauritanian troops, staged to underline the Front's determination for independence of the Western Sahara. But last weekend (11/12 August), the Polisario Front and Mauritania signed a peace agreement and now Mauritania has withdrawn its occupation force from the phosphate rich former Spanish colony (Western Sahara), effectively turning the territory over to Morocco. The Polisario Front has installed provisional government on the territory which it calls the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and is determined to keep up its fight for the SADR's independence. The SADR's Foreign Minister, Hakim Ibrahim announced the Front would intensify its operations inside Morocco and strike as hard and as deep as possible.
He told a news conference in Paris, Morocco was intransigent and displayed a warlike attitude over the Saharan issue.