When a Former Sahrawi separatist Defends Western Sahara Autonomy

el-bouhi1A former Sahrawi separatist who returned to his homeland, Morocco, lately after he spent nearly 40 years in Algeria and in the Tindouf camps, expressed his full support to the autonomy plan proposed by Morocco for the final settlement of the Sahara conflict.

At a meeting, held last Tuesday in Rabat, El Bouihi Hmati made a moving testimony on his life in the Tindouf camps and on the ordeal of the populations stranded in the unhospitable Algerian desert. During the meeting that was moderated by thinker and writer Hassan Aourid, El Bouihi Hmati stressed that “the autonomy plan in the southern provinces remains the sole suitable and realistic solution to put an end to this long-standing conflict which is kindled by Algeria’s hegemonic ambitions that he described as “revolting.”

The resolution of the Sahara dispute opposing Morocco and Algeria through the Polisario remains “dependent on the implementation of the autonomy initiative,” he said.

He stressed the need to thoroughly explain to the local population the content and purpose of this serious and credible initiative in order to promote the mobilization of all the citizens from the southern provinces for its implementation.

This artificially created conflict over the Moroccan Sahara is kindled by “Algeria’s revolting hegemonic ambitions which prolong the sufferings of the Sahrawis sequestered in the camps of shame and humiliation in Tindouf,” said Hmati.

Addressing the attending academics, journalists, representatives of Human Rights NGOs and former prisoners of the Polisario jails, El Bouihi Hmati recalled how he had been kidnapped from his home in Morocco at the age of 6 and dispatched to the Polisario-administered camps. Shortly afterwards he was sent to Cuba for indoctrination and military training. He said he also underwent military training in Libya and Algeria and was taught how to participate in anti-Morocco campaigns.

El Bouihi Hmati who is familiar with the corridors of power in Algiers and in the Polisario headquarters in Rabouni camp said Algeria is and will remain involved in the Sahara conflict as long as the Algerian army top brass continue to consider Morocco’s democratic progress and reforms as a hurdle to their own hegemonic schemes in the region.



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