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.

 

Saudi king vows to punish those behind bombing at Shiite mosque

Weakened by war, Syria regime appears ready for ‘de facto partition’

‘Islamic State’ takes full control of Iraq-Syria border crossing

Tripoli leaders use migrant issue as they yearn for recognition

Al-Azhar pleads for protection of Syria ancient city

Iran army ‘needs bigger budget to counter IS’

Saudi Shiites refuse to be provoked by deadly mosque bombing

Iran denies agreement on inspection of military sites

Emirati aid shipment arrives in Yemen port city of Aden

GCC denies air campaign against IS terrorists has failed

Sudan's Islamists protest against el-Sisi

Saudi mosque attack intended to fan sectarian tension

Islamic State claims Saudi mosque bombing

Israel solicits Platini to sway FIFA

Islamic State reinforces ‘caliphate’ with control of borders

Israeli deputy FM: 'All of it is ours'

Iraqi forces to launch Ramadi offensive

Tunis asks Rome to extradite terror suspect

Suicide bomb attack on Saudi Shiite mosque

Saudi-led coalition warplanes pound Sanaa outskirts

Shebab gunmen raid Kenya village

Kuwait businessman Khorafi dies at 75

IS fighters attack Iraq forces east of Ramadi

Obama offers Tunisia closer security ties

Yemen air strikes continue as Iran calls for talks

Israeli court orders release of Khalida Jarrar

Netanyahu meets with Arab leader Ayman Odeh

U.S. sanctions two companies linked to Iran's plane purchases

Iran supports Yemen talks, denounces foreign interference

IS militants call for attacks on Egypt's judges

11 killed in fresh Libya violence

Assad regime losses in Syria

Obama looks to bolster Tunisia's democratic gains

Turkey opposition unveils plan to build new 'mega-city' in Anatolia

Iraqi prime minister seeks Russian support against Islamic State

Iraq's Sunni tribes feel distrust towards Baghdad after Ramadi fall

Morocco illegal migrant arrest fuels Italy row

Qatar ‘failing to deliver’ on promised labour reforms

US to sell bombs, missiles to Israel, helicopters to Saudis

IS jihadists in full control of Syria's Palmyra

Yemen government wants rebel pullback before joining Geneva talks

Morocco King names four new ministers in second reshuffle

Gaza reconstruction going ‘far more slowly than expected’

France kills two jihadist chiefs in Sahel region

Clashes with ‘Islamic State’ rage on near Libya city of Sirte