A Morrocan newspaper said on Monday, (15 October) that Soviet weapons being used in the Western Saharan conflict, ad called on Moscow to use its influence with the Libyan Jamahiriyah and Algeria to put a stop to it.
A Morrocan newspaper said on Monday, (15 October) that Soviet weapons being used in the Western Saharan conflict, ad called on Moscow to use its influence with the Libyan Jamahiriyah and Algeria to put a stop to it. It was the first time Moroccans had accused the Soviet Union directly of aiding and abetting the algeria-based Polisario Front by allowing it to use modern weapons supplied to Libya and Algeria. The Polisario guerrillas claimed that they had recently captured Smara, the second largest town in the Western Sahara, and held a news conference in the district to publicise their action.
SYNOPSIS: The claimed capture of Smara, a town of about one thousand inhabitants, was said to e one of the bloodiest battles on the three-year war. In a part of the territory newly occupied by the Polisarios, more than seven hundred people said to have come from Smara were presented to newsmen. The Front claimed to have killed more than twelve hundred Moroccans at the smara garrison, in fighting that began on the fifth of October. The Moroccans, for their part, maintain that only one hundred and twenty-one of their troops were lost, while one thousand Polisario guerrillas died in the fighting.
Morocco denied the capture, and claimed that F-5 jet fighters had harassed the Polisarios who retreated after a two-day battle. The Polisario, in an attempt to prove their victory, invited newsmen to view captured arms and ammunition. The disputed Western Sahara has had a complex history. Four times in twenty-three years the map of Morocco has changed. In 956 five French and Spanish colonial territories joined together into an independent kingdom. It changed again in 1969 when the Spanish enclave of Ifni was incorporated in Morocco who spoke openly of a claim to a "Greater Morocco". Then in 1976 the Spanish ceded the Western territory in a tripartite agreement, to Mauritania in turn gave up her claims, while Morocco continues to resist the claims, while Morocco continues to resist the claims of the Algerian-backed Polisario Front for an independent Western Sahara.