Mauritania's President, Moktar Ould Daddah, says Algerian President Houari Boumidienne originally approved of the controversial partition of the disputed Western Sahara between Morocco and Mauritania.
Mauritania's President, Moktar Ould Daddah, says Algerian President Houari Boumidienne originally approved of the controversial partition of the disputed Western Sahara between Morocco and Mauritania. President Ould Daddah - addressing Mauritania's National Assembly on Saturday (7 May) - said Algeria's approval came at the 1974 Arab League Summit. Since then, Algeria has supported Polisario Front Guerrillas fighters a secessionist war in the area. The Mauritanian President also attacked the Algerian-backed Polisario Front for a May Day raid on a Mauritanian village.
SYNOPSIS: President Ould Daddah described the attack to the National Assembly. He said that six people had died, including a French couple. More than 20 people had been wounded, he said, and ten more - including six French - were abducted. But, the President added, serious losses had been inflicted on the invading Polisarion guerrillas. The Mauritanian official news agency later said that troops had intercepted a Polisario radio message that several officers on the raid had been killed.
President Ould Daddah's claim that French people were among the abducted has been denied by the Polisario Front.
Mr. Salem Ould Sadek, the Polisario's Minister of Information, said in Algiers on Friday (6 May) that the Polisario had no interest in foreign nationals. Their fight was against military and economic targets and the deaths were accidents, he told a news conference in the Algerian capital.
President Ould Daddah has also accused Algeria of arming and training the Polisario fighters, and then giving them sanctuary. The May Day raid was on the town of Zouerate - an important Mauritanian iron mining centre. There were 700 French nationals with the mining company when the raid happened. The French government immediately organised an airlift evacuation of all French women and children. The dead couple - a doctor and his wife - were burned to death when a shell hit their car and ignited the fuel tank.
The Polisario Front have been waging their campaign since Spain withdrew its troops at the end of February last year. Morocco and Mauritania took control of the partitioned country after a short period of transitional government with Spain - a move the Polisario totally rejected.