Nov. 13 (UPI) — Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces on Friday launched an operation along the southern portion of the Western Sahara border against the pro-independence Polisario Front.
Morocco said it wants to end “provocations” that created blockades of trucks traveling between Morocco and Mauritania.
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in northwestern Africa that is mostly controlled by the Moroccan government. A small portion is controlled by the partially recognized Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, a self-proclaimed sovereign state established by the Polisario Front in the 1970s.
The Polisario Front had threatened to end the three-decade-old cease-fire with Morocco if troops moved into a buffer zone on the Mauritanian border.
Video footage on Friday showed Polisario fighters fleeing the border town of Guerguerat, located just inside Morocco.
Morocco defense forces said they stopped an escalation of violence in Mahbes, near Algeria, with anti-tank weapons.
Morocco’s intervention is supported by United Nations peacekeeping mission MINURSO to end the disruption of supply deliveries in the region, which Morocco has blamed on the Polisario Front.
“Appeals from MINURSO and the U.N. secretary-general, as well as the intervention of several members of the Security Council, have unfortunately been unsuccessful,” the Moroccan foreign ministry said.