Western Sahara: UN Special Envoy Begins Tour Amid Polisario Crackdown

Rabat – In the midst of a visit by the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Horst Köhler, in Algeria, Polisario critic Mustapha Salma has highlighted atrocities in the Tindouf camps.The UN official is touring the region from June 23 to July  1. During his visit to Algeria, Köhler will meet Polisario representatives in the Tindouf camps, in southwest Algeria. Köhler will also visit Morocco to hold talks with Moroccan authorities on June 28-29 in Rabat.‘Sahrawis are being killed like dogs’ Commenting on Köhler’s visit, Polisario dissident Mustapha Salma heavily criticized Algeria for torturing Sahrawis in the Tindouf camps.Salma made his remarks on a Facebook post on Saturday: “Algeria receives UN envoy with more bodies of Sahrawis, before burying the body of the young man Brahim Salek, who was killed in a Polisario-run prison.”Salma was referring to the death of the  30-year old Sahrawi opponent Brahim Ould Salek Ould Breika, who was allegedly tortured in the infamous D’Heibya prison in Algeria. To date, the victim’s relatives have not been allowed to see Ould Salek’s body, according to Salma.The prison, south of Tindouf, allegedly holds some Sahrawis and dissidents who never received trials.Salma, a former police chief in the Tindouf camps, added that the “killing machine returned to claim the lives of young Sahrawis, and this time by the bullets of the Algerian army.”The dissident claimed that on Saturday the Algerian army “assassinated” Rabas Abdelrahman Yahdeh, another young Sahrawi who studied at an Algerian university.According to Salma, the young Sahrawi was shot while he was in a car in the outskirts of the Laayoune camp near Tindouf with his friends, who “miraculously survived.”“This crime comes on the first day of the visit of the personal envoy in Algeria, which is hosting Sahrawi camps where Sahrawis are being killed like dogs, without anyone lifting a finger,” he said.He added that if such cases occurred in Morocco, the incident would not go unnoticed.Since 2011, Salma has regularly criticized Polisario’s provocative actions, describing the front as losing its influence in the conflict since the 1991 ceasefire agreement.Köhler will visit all MINURSO sitesKöhler’s visit comes on the heels of the violations of the front on May 20 in Tifariti, east of Morocco’s defense wall, to celebrate the “45th anniversary of its armed struggle.” The violation came in defiance of the UN resolution adopted on April 27 by the Security Council. The resolution extended the mandate of MINURSO to six months instead of one year and pressured the Polisario to end the violations of the agreement.The UN Personal Envoy is expected to visit all of the sites under the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to monitor the ceasefire agreement, including those east of Morocco’s defense wall.

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