The Polisario is seemingly opting for escalation in the buffer zone of Gueguerat in the extreme southwest of Morocco, as it set up new makeshift checkpoints on the road section linking Morocco and Mauritania.
Yet, in the annual report on the Sahara submitted recently to the Security Council, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres summoned the separatist Polisario front to withdraw, immediately and unconditionally, its militiamen from the buffer zone, which is under the exclusive monitoring of the UN mission in the Sahara, MINURSO.
Through these provocative and defying acts, the Polisario seeks to impose de facto its presence in this area that is supposed to be demilitarized and to disrupt road traffic and movement of goods between Morocco and Mauritania, as ordered by the Algerian regime, which is much distraught by Morocco’s breakthrough in Africa.
Since Saturday (April 15), the Polisario militiamen have set up new makeshift checkpoints using big stones and used car tires between the Moroccan and Mauritanian border posts, in a demilitarized zone that the separatists consider as “a liberated territory”. The Polisario’s acts are a blatant violation of the ceasefire agreement concluded under the auspices of the UN in 1991.
“Moroccan drivers and passengers are constantly insulted and disrespected,” states a Moroccan trucker on social networks. The truck driver adds that the harassment by the Polisario’s armed militiamen takes place under the passive eye of the MINURSO agents, positioned not far from the checkpoints erected by the Polisario.
Observers who follow closely the Sahara issue believe that the Polisario’s refusal to withdraw from the buffer zone and its moves to escalate tension translate their disappointment at the latest UN annual report on the Sahara, which the separatists consider favorable to the Moroccan standpoint.
The Polisario and its Algerian sponsors seek, through these maneuvers, to pressure the Security Council, which is about to adopt a new resolution in April, according to analysts. These analysts think that it is not excluded that the UN body would address a severe warning to the Polisario for its refusal to comply with the UN calls to respect the ceasefire agreement.