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Date of posting : April 21, 2018

Polisario Intercepts MINURSO Patrol, Fires Warning Gunshots, UN

 Armed members of the polisario front intercepted, on March 16, a team of MINURSO military observers and fired warning gunshots, said UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

MINURSO had informed the UNSC that, on March 16 in the Tifarity village, MINURSO military observers, who were on duty, were intercepted by armed members of the polisario front who fired warning gunshot, said Dujarric at his daily press briefing.

He added that only later were the observers allowed to resume their patrol.

Some media outlets had recently underlined the occurrence of warning gunshot firing and the interception, at mid March by the polisario, of MINURSO members to prevent them from documenting the multiple violations by the separatist militiamen in this zone.

These warning gunshots were preceded by the deployment of polisario military teams in charge of arresting MINURSO members and planting warning signs of alleged minefields in order to hinder the free movement of the mission and the recording of polisario’s violations.

Responding Wednesday to questions about the attacks and harassment targeting peacekeeping missions, Dujarric said that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “more concerned than ever about the growing threat and the deadly attacks against peacekeepers, which we have witnessed in all missions”.

On Thursday, Guterres deplored the fact that while the UN symbols were previously respected even by militant groups, this respect has declined over time, making our staff today a target for exactly the same reason.

The United Nations staff are regularly targeted by those who oppose peace, he wrote on his Twitter account on the memorial of UN workers who fell over 2016-2017.

Far from being an isolated incident, this attack on MINURSO is part of a long list of Polisario’s aggressive actions towards the UN mission, aimed at obstructing the execution of its mandate.

The polisario also started building, since August, civil and military facilities and expressed its intention to transfer some of its so-called “institutions” from Tindouf towards the zone east of the security structure.