Occupied Territories, various information, week of 28 April to 2 May 2015
East of Smara, 1 May
The explosion of an anti-personnel mine when a Land Rover passed in the Skikima region, east of Smara, in occupied Western Sahara, injured very badly 4 members of the same family.
The ambulance of Smara hospital, which is administered by the Moroccan authorities, has refused to drive on the 2km tracks that separate the paved road from the scene of the accident. Saharawi people have then transported the bodies of the injured from the scene of the accident to the ambulance, i.e. they only got medical care 3 hours after the explosion.
The mother, Mrs. Ahjab Ghafiri, whose leg was blown off, died probably due to severe bleeding upon arrival at the ambulance.
Her husband, Boutomit Ali, her son Essahel (13 years old) and her daughter Lala (15 years old) were taken to the Smara provincial hospital for emergency care. According to information received, the young boy is still in critical condition.
The UN Antipersonnel Mines Observatory’s last report estimates that 10 million mines were buried in the ground in Western Sahara by the Moroccan army on both sides of the berm, which is for the Saharawi people the Wall of Shame.
Smara, April 30
More than 30 Saharawi citizens demonstrated in Essoukna neighbourhood to claim independence of Western Sahara, in solidarity with two young Saharawis who have been arrested by the Moroccan police during the visit of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights to the occupied territories. .
Lahfoud Karoum is still in Essmara prison and the student Rahmoun Hamdi is on provisional release after having taken part in a demonstration against Moroccan discrimination against the Saharawi people and against the partiality of some OHCHR senior officials in favour of Morocco, suggesting their corruption.
Dakhla, 1 May 2015
On Friday, 1 May, 400 Saharawi citizens participated in peaceful demonstrations in the neighbourhoods of Ksikisat, Oum Tounsi and Lebichat, to protest against the decision of the Security Council, which ignored their claims and appeals and those of governments and human rights associations to broaden the mandate of MINURSO to include the monitoring of human rights.
Many flags of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic were visible in the demonstration and demonstrators also chanted slogans against the plundering of their natural resources.
The police and the “blairs” (Moroccan soldiers dressed as police officers) violently repressed the demonstration, by striking and beating women and men. 5 demonstrators were taken to the police prefecture of the occupied city, where they were interrogated and released the following day.
On Saturday, 2 May 2015, at 2 p.m., more than ten Moroccan police vehicles surrounded Atikou Barai’s house, located in El Ghofran neighbourhood, before entering forcibly, by breaking down the door. They arrested the Saharawi activist who had been released 4 months ago after 4 years’ imprisonment for his participation in peaceful demonstrations in Dakhla in 2011.
According to our correspondent in Dakhla, four other activists were arrested on the street in different neighbourhoods of the city. They were Mohamed Salem Sidi, Mansour Sbaai, Wanati Rbani and Sid Ahmed Bairouk.
Around 55 demonstrators protested for one hour in front of the police prefecture against these arrests before being violently dispersed by the Moroccan police. At the time this information is being released, the activists are still held in custody.
In occupied El Aaiún
Big convoys of security and paramilitary reinforcements arrived in El Aaiún from the Moroccan cities of Casablanca, Marrakech and Agadir during last week that comprised the UN Security Council’s Resolution on its mission on the ground and its mandate.
Since April 28, observers were able to estimate the presence of more than 2000 police officers, auxiliary force’s agents, “blairs” and general intelligence agents stationed around the streets and alleyways leading to Essmara Street and to Ma’atala neighbourhood, traditional demonstration areas for Saharawi activists.
As a consequence of this repressive presence, the local Coordination of Saharawi unemployed graduates and the OCP SKILLS group could not celebrate the 1st of May.
More than 200 Saharawi unemployed people attempted to take to the 24 February Street where they had planned to demonstrate, near the People’s Bank in the city centre.
Uniformed police officers and officers in plainclothes intervened violently to prevent them from going on and confiscated caps and jackets.
Five unemployed persons were injured: Ms. Naya Abali, Ms. Oum La’aid El Ansari, Ms. Yehdiha Achmir, and Mr. Mohamed Babait and Mr. Salek El Qadi.