First Published: 2012-11-08

 

Rabat orders 19 foreign journalists to leave Laayoune

 

Morocco’s interior ministry says journalists entered country without revealing their true identities in bid to cover commemorations of deadly events of November 8, 2010 in Laayoune.

 

Middle East Online

Laayoune

RABAT - Morocco said Wednesday it has ordered what it said are 19 foreign journalists -- 15 Spaniards and four Swedes -- to leave Laayoune, the main city of Western Sahara, claiming they had gone there under false pretexts.

Morocco annexed the former Spanish colony in 1975, in a move never recognised by the international community, and the interior ministry said the journalists had traveled there to cover the commemorations of deadly disturbances in 2010.

"These journalists entered national territory without revealing their true identities, pretending to be on holiday in the kingdom," the interior ministry said.

A source at the communications ministry said no request had been received for permission to report from Western Sahara, adding that journalists not accredited in the kingdom are required to take the appropriate steps to do so.

The interior ministry said it did not know whether the 19 people, who were not identified, had left the country or not.

It said their aim was to cover commemorations of the deadly events of November 8, 2010, when Moroccan authorities dismantled a camp in Gdim Izik inhabited by around 10,000 Sahrawi dissidents.

The move to break up the camp degenerated into clashes around the camp and in Laayoune, where a number of government offices and businesses were sacked and burned.

At least 13 people died, including 11 members of the security forces, the interior ministry said.

Twenty-three Sahrawis, accused of belonging to militias, were arrested and were to have gone on trial last month, but the case has been postponed indefinitely.

UN peace envoy for the Western Sahara Christopher Ross was in Algeria on Wednesday, the latest leg of a trip that has already taken him to Morocco.

The pro-independence Polisario Front, supported by Algeria, controls a small part of the desert interior and has bases over the border around Tindouf.

The UN brokered a ceasefire in 1991, but a settlement of the conflict remains elusive.

 

Libya rivals meet for unity deal talks in Morocco

IS 'bulldozed' Iraq’s historic Nimrud

EU’s Mogherini 'Good deal' on Iran nuclear programme is near

Several Qaeda leaders killed in Syria regime attack

Dubai launches first 3D pavement art festival

South Sudan's warring leaders fail to reach deal

Some 28,000 ‘have fled’ Iraq's Tikrit

BP to invest $12 billion in Egypt gas fields

FBI calls for 'vigilance' against IS recruitment online

Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia reach basis of Nile water deal

Jewish tradition could help struggling Gaza farmers

Egypt Interior Minister replaced in cabinet reshuffle

Saudi Arabia urges coalition to fight jihadists 'on ground'

Algeria criminalises violence against women

Sisi replaces interior minister in cabinet reshuffle

Executions set 'unprecedented' pace in Saudi Arabia

Libya declares more than 10 oil fields ‘non-operational’ after IS attacks

Syria exiled opposition chief seeks to unite dissidents

US warns against sectarianism in Tikrit offensive

Thousands of Filipinos remain in Libya despite perilous situation

South Sudan peace talks hit deadlock ahead of deadline

Kerry seeks to allay Gulf states’ fears on Iran

Turkey will not take part in Iraq offensive to retake Mosul

Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen freed

Libya urges UN to lift arms embargo

Mali rebel groups urged to sign peace deal

At least 34 dead in Syria rebel attack on intel HQ

Assad likens himself to Superman

Libya declares force majeure at 11 oil fields

Iran’s regional influence ‘not negiotiable’

Women protest for peace ahead of Israel election

Concerns rise over civilians’ safety in Iraq military operation

UN invites Libya leaders for crisis talks in Algeria

Israel to double water quota to Gaza ‘within days’

Abbas: Palestinians ready to talk with "whoever" wins Israel election

Fire at Cairo convention centre injures 19 people

US, Iran wrap up three days of intense nuclear negotiations

EU reviews policy in response to Ukraine, Arab Spring

IAEA delegation to hold talks in Tehran on March 9

Tunisia rescues 86 African migrants at sea

Saudi executing at 'unprecedented' pace

Turkish Airlines plane skids off Nepal runway

British former marine 'killed' in Syria

Iran slams boring Netanyahu's continuous lie-spreading in US speech

'Saudi prince' New York apartment on sale for $48.5m