Protests Build up in Tindouf Camps against Polisario Corruption

Protests Build up in Tindouf Camps against Polisario Corruption

“The Sahrawi Initiative for Change” is the name of a new protest movement that is gaining momentum in Tindouf camps demanding an end of the corruption and siege imposed by the Polisario leadership on the Sahrawis held against their will in south-western Algeria.

The initiative was met by abhorrent oppression by the Polisario militia and their Algerian mentors who are rushing to quell it before it snowballs.

Leaders of the initiatives include former senior members of the Polisario executive apparatus such as Lhaj Ahmed Barkallah, brother of the Polisario representative to the UN, Oulad Moussa, cousin of the Polisario coordinator with the Minurso, and Hdih Abbiha, the brother of the second in line Polisario diplomat.

The members of the initiative intend to meet soon in Madrid to draw an alternative to the current status quo with a view to establish a new governance model in the Tindouf camps on the basis of the principles of equality, justice and freedom.

Protests are common place in the Tindouf camps where an uprising was violently silenced in 1988. In 2004, Khat Achahid (the Path of the Martyr) was established as an opposition movement to the Polisario leadership.

The Polisario has often resorted to violence to silence any protest within the camps. Last May, the Polisario has imposed a curfew in the camps to quell a protest that was going to be staged by the disenchanted population held in inhumane living conditions in south-western Algeria.

The Polisario militiamen, in connivance with the Algerian army, have reinforced the siege on the Tindouf camps to prevent Sahrawis from fleeing. The Algerian army has on multiple occasions fired at any Sahrawi who attempts to leave the camps. Last March, Algerian soldiers fired without warning at a car outside the Tindouf camps, killing Kari Mohamed Ali El Ouali and his friend Ahmed Lebouiya Sahraou.

International rights watchdogs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have in multiple reports drew attention to the plight of the population held against their will in Tindouf where the Algerian state has relegated the destiny of thousands of Sahrawis to the mercy of a separatist militia that trades in their suffering.

From humanitarian aid embezzlement by the Polisario officials to slavery and forced disappearances in the Tinfoud camps, Algeria has abdicated its responsibilities and forsaken a civilian population to the mercy of a separatist militia.

UN Security Council resolution 2351 has once more reiterated the call on Algeria to uphold its responsibility to allow a census of the population held in the camps.

Algeria’s obstinacy to refuse a head-count of the population of the Polisario-run camps prompted the EU to reduce aid sent to these camps in a bid to curb humanitarian aid diversion.

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