In Mauritania, many Polisario guerrillas have been reported killed following a guerrilla attack on the small Mauritanian base of Tmemichatt, 200 kilometres from the port of Nouadhibou.
In Mauritania, many Polisario guerrillas have been reported killed following a guerrilla attack on the small Mauritanian base of Tmemichatt, 200 kilometres from the port of Nouadhibou. The Polisario attack-repulsed by Mauritanian and Moroccan forces came early on Sunday morning (18 December).
SYNOPSIS: The attack at Tmemichatt (PRO: T-MAY-MISH-AT) was directed at the Nouadhibou (PRO: NOO-AD-I-BOO) Zouerate railway line, which runs close to the border of the former Spanish Sahara and is a prime target for Polisario guerrillas. The line is used solely for transporting iron ore from the huge mining complex at Zouerate (PRO: ZOO-ER-AH-TAY) to Nouadhibou on the Atlantic coast some 650 kilometres to the West.... The iron ore brings in about 85 per cent of Mauritania's foreign currency revenues. According to reports, combined Mauritanian and Moroccan forces chased the guerrillas over a distance of about 100 kilometres, and engaged them three times.
The first clash came at Azoug, 40 kilometres north of Tmemichatt. With air support, the Mauritanians and Moroccans are reported to have killed 82 guerrillas and destroyed 17 vehicles, including two trucks.
Reports from Mauritanian Army Headquarters said the fighting continued near Lechmeis (PRO: LESH-MACE) about 50 kilometres north of Tmemichatt. Three more guerrillas were killed and five vehicles were left behind....The Polisario column, which made the initial attack on Tmemichatt was said to have been made up of 60 vehicles. Mauritania lost four vehicles during the fighting.
Thirty Mauritanian troops are said to have died in the fighting and Polisario dead are put in the region of 100. The Mauritanians are also said to have captured a variety of heavy and light weaponry, as well as ammunition..The losses were a further setback for the Polisario, who, with Algerian support, are trying to create an independent state in the former Spanish Sahara.
And controversy still rages over fighting which took place nearly two weeks ago. This lasted over three days and the Polisario's claimed that a guerrilla column operating in the Western Sahara, close to the Mauritanian border was attacked by French aircraft. The incident is alleged to have taken place after a Polisario column had attacked a train carrying iron ore between Zouerate and Noudhibou. The guerrillas claim that on December the 14th and 15th French planes used Napalm and Phosphorous bombs.
The allegation, however, has been strongly denied by both Mauritania and Morocco. According to sources in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott, Moroccan and not French planes had intervened against the Polisario column. And the Moroccan government in Rabat confirmed this. The Mauritanians said that the planes were propeller-driver Moroccan T-6 aircraft.