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.

 

Britain probes jihadist network amid row with US intelligence

Trump gets rough ride in EU, NATO meeting

Qatari FM says country victim of smear campaign, particularly in US

Egyptians brace for austere Ramadan

Faz3a, a local NGO mobilising young people to help Mosul refugees

Saudi minister confident on oil output deal

Egypt blocks several media websites including Jazeera

IS suicide bomber kills five in Somalia

Israel uneasy over 'crazy' regional arms race

Algeria president replaces Prime Minister

16 civilians dead in coalition strikes near Raqa

4 arrested in Tunisia anti-corruption drive

German MPs call off Turkey visit as tensions fester

Palestinian hunger strike row draws solidarity, controversy

Britain raises terror alert, deploys troops after concert massacre

Qatar probes state news agency hack

At least 20 migrants killed in Mediterranean

Israeli joy at Trump visit lacks substance

Oman evacuates Australian man from Yemen

Bahrain police open fire on Shiite protest, kill five

Turkey arrests hunger strikers on terror charges

Jewish extremists ejected from Aqsa mosque compound

Prominent Egypt rights lawyer detained

Oil producers to extend output curbs at OPEC meeting

NATO aims to break Turkey-Austria partnership deadlock

Tunisia tensions simmer after protester's death

Terrorist bomb attack kills 22 at UK pop concert

Bahrain police raid Shiite sit-in killing one protester

Trump says Israelis, Palestinians ‘can make a deal’

Five dead in Syria car bomb attacks

Syria civilians suffer deadliest month of US-led strikes

US forces raid Al-Qaeda in Yemen, kill seven jihadists

Islamists to join Algeria cabinet despite poor results

Tunisia's 2.1% GDP growth marks economic upturn

Trump meets Palestinian leader in Bethlehem

Istanbul demolishes nightclub targeted in New Year attack

WHO says 315 cholera deaths in Yemen in under one month

Trump seeks Israeli-Palestinian peace, lashes out at Iran again

Tunisia police use tear gas on protesters

Palestinians protest for hunger-striking prisoners

GCC and Arab League call for Yemen unity

Turkey's alleged coup ringleaders stand trial

Iran’s reformists sweep to power across major cities

Israel makes concessions to Palestinians 'at Trump's request'

Ivanka hales Saudi progress on women’s rights