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Mauritania: Former minister warns Morocco against killing Mauritanian civilians, not confronting Polisario forces

Former Mauritanian Minister of Culture and Information and head of the ruling Union for the Republic Party, Sidi Mohamed Ould Maham

The former Mauritanian Minister of Culture and Information and head of the ruling Union for the Republic Party, Sidi Mohamed Ould Maham, warned Morocco yesterday of what he called: "The deliberate killing of defenceless Mauritanian civilians with drones and the failure to confront the Polisario forces."

"The repeated targeting by Moroccan drones, who come from behind the separation wall in Western Sahara, of defenceless Mauritanian civilians on desert lands is a matter that requires warning that it is difficult to curb the population on both sides of the Mauritanian-Saharan borderline and oblige them to borders that have no landmarks or signs that define it," wrote Ould Maham in a remarkable post on his Facebook account.

The former Mauritanian minister, who is close to the authority in Mauritania and is known for his positions in support of it, continued: "We are surprised that these drones mercilessly target Mauritanian civilians without warning. We do not see them confronting the bases of the Polisario Front and its military units, which are immensely spread throughout the region, and carry out qualitative and almost daily operations along the wall. Most of these operations caused great losses for the Moroccan army in Western Sahara."

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"We are aware of the Moroccan army's logistical ability to distinguish between civilian and military targets, therefore, when it uses force against peaceful civilians, it must justify that in its statements and publicly clarify its motives and reasons. At least, it must apologise, although this will not return the dead and will not console the wounded, especially since the matter is related to repeated operations that are about to become normal behaviour by the Moroccan forces present in Western Sahara," Ould Maham added.

He emphasised: "The disregard of Mauritanian blood is a matter that cannot be tolerated. Our country is capable of protecting its sons in every way, and the bloodshed will not be the best way to impose de facto policies."

Drones have killed dozens of Mauritanian civilians, among gold miners and livestock owners, in the northern border area of Mauritania. The same was repeated last week with the killing of seven Mauritanian civilians. The Mauritanian government has not yet issued any comment on this, nor has Morocco.

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