Tag: Polisario Front

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

Foundation Investigated for Alleged Mismanagement of Public Funds Meant for Care of Unaccompanied Migrant Minors

The 7th Investigative Court of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has opened a preliminary investigation into the Social Response Foundation Siglo XXI and four of its directors. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in Las Palmas filed a complaint against them, alleging crimes that could include forgery of commercial documents, mismanagement, and embezzlement of public funds. The investigation aims to determine whether this nonprofit organisation, and its officials, could have misused public funds intended for the care of unaccompanied migrant minors, during the migration crisis of 2020 that was precipitated by the pandemic confinement on the islands, leading to a build up of arrivals having to be assessed and cared for by the Canary Islands Regional Government, using hotels left empty due to the lack of tourism. The estimated amount involved in the alleged misuse stands at around €12.5 million between 2020 and 2022 on Gran Canaria alone.


Canary Islands Expect Rain and Potential Storm Weather Next Week

The Canary Islands are preparing for a change in the weather next week, as a significant increase in cloud is expected bringing higher probability of rain. The effects of a powerful storm forming in the Atlantic Ocean are likely to extend to the Canary Islands as well as neighbouring Madeira and The Azores.


The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 2-4 June 2023

June is here and that means that summer is just around the corner. The Patron Saints’ festivities in honour of San Juan de Bautista and San Antonio de Padua are just getting started on Gran Canaria, and in Pueblo de Mogán the main Romería pilgrimage for San Antonio El Chico is this first Saturday of June, as well as the start of the build up to those in Arucas, Santa Brígida and Moya. This weekend also brings the biggest outlet fair shopping experience back to INFECAR and a collectables fair in Gáldar.
OPERATION KILO is this weekend, at all participating supermarkets, asking you to add a few non-perishable food items to the Food Bank collection boxes to help families in need.

Vox Enters Canarian Politics, Stage Right: Anti-Migrant, Anti-Feminist, Anti-Green, Anti-Autonomy, Anti-LGBT, Anti-Multiculturalism, Pro-Franco politics find a foothold on The Canary Islands

The Canary Islands were unable to avoid the rise of the far right on Sunday, unlike in 2019, writes Natalia G. Vargas in Canarias Ahora. Vox, which previously had no representation on the islands, managed to make its presence felt in several municipalities and councils this May 28. They also secured seats in the Canary Islands’ regional parliament, securing four deputies. “Defending what is ours, our own, and fighting against insecurity” were the slogans that underpinned Vox’s campaign in The Canary Islands, along with “family, employment, and freedom.” This rhetoric, coupled with an electoral program that was repeated across all local elections in Spain, proved sufficient. Dozens of cities and towns on the islands welcomed their first far right candidates of the modern democratic era into Canarian politics, with urban areas serving as their main strongholds.

La Alcaldesa Bueno Secures Incredible Majority in Mogán

Mogán, May 29, 2023 – The often controversial incumbent, O Bueno, La Alcaldesa, has achieved an unprecedented and resounding victory once more in Mogán. The candidate who switched her party’s name, for these elections, to “Juntos por Mogán”, a local ally of the regionalist conservatives “Coalición Canaria” (CC), will once again assume the role of mayor. Her party has clinched a rather noteworthy 17 out of the 21 seats in the Municipal Council of this popular tourism destination located on the sunny southwest of Gran Canaria.


Western Sahara drone strike allegedly kills head of the Sahrawi National Guard in disputed territory conflict with Morocco

The head of the Sahrawi National Guard, Adah el Bendir, was killed on Thursday afternoon in an alleged Western Sahara drone strike, carried out by Moroccan forces, at a point along the wall built by Rabat, in the disputed and occupied Spanish ex-colony territory, according to an official Sahrawi source reported by EFE.



According to the source, El Bendir “fell as a martyr, and with honour, while fighting the occupying forces in the liberated area of ​​Rouss Irni”, near the city of Tifariti, the Polisario Front main base and centre of military operations.
The officer was “hit by drone fire after leading an incursion through the segregation wall,” the source added. “This is further proof of the intense war in the area and why Morocco is determined to deny it,” said the source, who on other occasions has reported alleged Moroccan casualties, which have never been confirmed or denied by Rabat.
Morocco will neither confirm nor deny this latest information, which adds more uncertainty about what is really happening in the north west African conflict zone, just 100km east of The Canary Islands.
Six Months of Military TensionThe former Spanish colony has been on a war footing since last November 13, after Moroccan armed forces penetrated the Guerguerat pass, which separates Mauritania from the territory, occupied by Morocco in 1975, to remove a large group of Sahrawis who had camped as a protest on the road built by the Moroccans, in contravention of UN restrictions. The protesters were trying to interrupt the transit of goods through the area, which the Polisario denounces as illegal, on the terms of the ceasefire brokered 30 years ago on the premise of a promised and long overdue referendum on self determination for the native Sahrawi population.
Just 24 hours after that offensive, Brahim Ghali, the general secretary of the Polisario Front and president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), the government in exile broadly recognised by dozens of countries including those of the African Union, made clear that this was a violation of the ceasefire and considered the truce signed in 1991 to have been broken.
A day later, he announced a start to military operations along the wall, erected by Morocco in the middle of the desert, which, according to Sahrawi sources, with combat action having been sustained and repeated since then, and which Rabat will not even comment on.
By the end of January, and in the face of stark silence from Morocco, the SADR announced that the Sahrawi Army was preparing to “expand the scope of its military operations, from southern Morocco to southern Western Sahara, to cover all enemy sectors and defences”.
The tensions were added to in recent months by political tension, the result of a decision from the outgoing president of the United States, Trump, to recognise Moroccan sovereignty over the former Spanish colony in exchange for Rabat establishing relations with Israel.
Last month the US 6th fleet aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower took part in military exercises with Morocco in the strip of Atlantic ocean between The Canary Islands archipelago and Morocco’s Port of Agadir, as part of Operation Lightening Handshake.   The Government of Spain have lodged a formal complaint with the United States of America, as they had not been warned in advance that such a large exercise, including air, sea and land forces, was scheduled to occur so close to their island territories. Training in Western Sahara drone strike operations is likely to have been included in these exercises.
If these reports of this Western Sahara drone strike are true, then the drone used in this strike was almost certainly US supplied, as part of the multi-billion dollar arms deals that have continued to embolden Morocco in the region. The Moroccans are seen as a key strategic partner, and forward staging post in the region, for AfriCom, in US Military operations on the African continent.

April 12: – Various sources have cast doubt on whether Morocco currently has lethal drone strike capabilities, pointing instead to the more likely use of high-end military intelligence gathering drones, if a drone was use at all, perhaps to seek out and target El Bendir, allowing more conventional weaponry to actually launch the attack, possibly even from the air by fighter-jet.  The fact is, the facts are sketchy, not all the reports coming out of Western Sahara are reliable, and Morocco refuses to comment or engage in any way regarding the current situation or their conflict with the Polisario Front.
Has Morocco carried out its first drone strike in Western Sahara?


Fighting breaks out in Western Sahara as tensions escalate between Polisario Front and Moroccan occupying forces

Images: Western Sahara refugee camp © Bård Ove Myhr Most have little or no understanding of the conflict situation just 100km east of The Canary Islands.  Africa’s last colonial battlefield has been in a state of ceasefire since 1991, when UN peacekeeping forces brokered a truce in order to ensure a referendum was held on self-determination.  Originally agreed to by Morocco, who then changed their minds once the Sahawari fighters laid down their arms, the area has been in a state of limbo ever since with tens of thousands living under occupation, as second class citizens in their own land and an estimated 180,000 native Sahawari’s having spent the last three or four decades in refugee camps, in exile across the Algerian border.  That the world’s press rarely if ever refers to the conflict has led to it being referred to as Sahara’s Forgotten War, and Africa’s last de facto colonial struggle for independence.


By Lencer – CC BY-SA 3.0
Previously under military occupation, known as Spanish Sahara, the last vestiges of European colonial rule resulted, in November 1975, in the The Green March, with Morocco laying claim to the resource rich area.  Just two weeks before the death of Spain’s ailing dictator, Morocco’s King (Sultan), Hassan II, organised a strategic march of 350,000 Moroccan citizens and some 20,000 troops into the territory to claim it following Spanish withdrawal.  This led to a backlash from the Sahawari fighters who had originally formed to expel the Europeans, and a 16 year-long war ensued, only coming to terms with the announcement of the UN backed referendum.

The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was established by Security Council resolution 690 of 29 April 1991 in accordance with settlement proposals accepted on 30 August 1988 by Morocco and the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el-Hamra y de Río de Oro (Frente POLISARIO).
MINURSOUnited Nations Mission For The Referendum In Western Sahara
Polisario Front in Western Sahara Free Zone, Image: © Bård Ove Myhr
The Sahawari are the only people ever to have been recognised be the international community as the native population of the territory and no country in the world has ever recognised Morocco’s claims to it.  For 29 years tension has been mounting as optimism, and patience turned to hope, then frustration and and despair as the world turned its back on the situation. Fighting broke out this week, with armed clashes following the clearing of peaceful protesters who had been blockading a road, they say was built in direct contravention of the UN truce, resulting in skirmishes and live rounds being fired. The Polisario Front declared the ceasefire to have been broken and immediately launched a counter offensive.
On Friday Moroccan forces moved into a buffer strip, at the Guerguerat zone, following what they called weeks of “provocations” from members of the pro-independence Polisario Front, to which Algeria is also sympathetic. While Morocco denies that there were any victims in the clashes with the Polisario Front, it did announce this Saturday that there have been “fatalities.”
By Abjiklam Western Sahara CC BY SA 4.0
The Moroccan occupation is cordoned by a more than 2,700km wall, or berm, the second longest in the world, erected in the eighties by Morocco from north to south of the Sahara and separating the occupied territory from the arid desert wastelands in which the free sahawari population survive until this day.  It separates the Moroccan areas (the Southern Provinces), to the west, from the Polisario-controlled areas (Free Zone, nominally the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic) to the east.
According to official sources in Rabat, no casualties had resulted during the two days following the removal of the protests.  The Polisario Front, however, announced this Saturday that it considers the ceasefire signed with Rabat to have been broken, and decreed a state of war throughout the territory in response to the attack perpetrated on Friday, when Moroccan military units crossed this dividing line to break the blockade and build a security corridor.
Polisario Front train in Western Sahara Free Zone, Image: © Bård Ove Myhr
There have been reported exchanges of fire between the Moroccan Army and the Polisario forces stationed in the area. Saharawi units say they have bombed four military bases and two Moroccan checkpoints located along the desert wall with tension between Rabat and the Polisario (in exile) has skyrocketed.
The U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ramped up efforts Friday to get Morocco and pro-independence supporters to step back from fighting, warning that the clashes could rupture nearly 30 year’s of cease-fire and warning that any escalation could have “grave consequences.” without specifically accusing either party.
Here on the Canary Islands, regional politicians from the Coalición Canarias demanded the UN intervene to guarantee the ceasefire in Western Sahara continues, while members of Podemos have voiced their “rejection” of “military action” instigated by the Moroccan army, in the area of ​​El Guerguerat against the Sahrawi civilian population, who were peacefully protesting against the deployment of a contingent of the Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie dressed as civilians, as well as the presence in the area of ​ military commanders from the Alawite kingdom, which they consider to be “a serious breach of the ceasefire” signed in 1991.
Polisario Front train in Western Sahara Free Zone, Image: © Bård Ove Myhr
What is clear, is that tension has been building for quite some time, as Morocco continues to strip resources from the region with consistent reports of oppressive policies that do not favour the native Sahawari population.  With forty years of diaspora, and many young Sahawaris having grown impatient while the world turns a blind eye, there is every likelihood that the current generation may be willing to take up arms once more to try to secure a better future for their people.
Morocco continues to try to downplay the situation.  External international observers, however, agree that this is the most significant development in this ongoing conflict for more than generation.


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