A Polisario Front leader said on Wednesday (1 February) that a "great solidarity" had been established between his group and Tanzania as a result of his talks with Tanzania's Foreign Minister Benjamin Mkapa.
SCU INT Polisario spokesman Mr. Hakim Brahim (centre) speaking in French, and being translated into English (3 shots)
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Background: A Polisario Front leader said on Wednesday (1 February) that a "great solidarity" had been established between his group and Tanzania as a result of his talks with Tanzania's Foreign Minister Benjamin Mkapa.
SYNOPSIS: Addressing a news conference in the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam, Mr. Hakim Brahim said the Front had received help from several African countries.
Mr. Brahim, who is described by the Front as their Foreign Minister, accused France of causing unrest in Africa and also attacked its economic policies in Mauritania. Polisario Front guerrillas are fighting for control of the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara, which Mauritania and Morocco have shared since Spanish rule ended there early in 1976.
Mr. Brahim said the Front was fighting inside Mauritania in "legitimate self-defence".
At the request of Mauritania, French Jaguar fighter bombers from the French base in Dakar, Senegal, flew two attack mission over Northern Mauritania in December. According to independent sources, they inflicted heavy casualties on polisario guerrillas. A French force of eight Jaguars, four reconnaissance planes and two Boeing 707 refuelling jets, as well as some 450 French troops, was flown to Dakar in December. The move was seen by many West African leaders as evidence of France's will to help them check what they consider an increasing Soviet influence in Africa.
Mr. Brahim claimed that French President Giscard d'Estaing wanted to "impose himself by force."