A Moroccan drone attack kills a Polisario military chief

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Updated Thursday, April 8, 2021 – 21:41

The armed conflict has experienced a new escalation since the ceasefire was broken last November

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The armed conflict between the Polisario Front and Morocco is experiencing a new escalation since its reactivation, last November. A high military command of the Saharawi independence group has been killed in the attack with a drone of the Moroccan armed forces. It will be the first time, since the ceasefire signed in 1991, that there is evidence that the Moroccan army uses unmanned aircraft.

“The commander of the National Guard, the martyr Adah al Bendir, fell on Tuesday on the field of honor, where he was on a military mission in the liberated area of ​​Rouss Irni, in Tifariti, “read a statement from the Saharawi Ministry of Defense published by the official press agency SPS. A dispatch from France-Presse yesterday echoed this communication, which however was withdrawn shortly after from the SPS website.

Military sources cited by the same agency indicated that Al Bendir died as a result of a “drone attack” after participating in an offensive in the Bir Lehlu area against the separation wall “that Morocco built throughout the useful geography of the country. Western Shara. The part behind this defensive wall is controlled by the Polisario Front and considered by the Sahrawis as “liberated territories.” A few hours later, a hundred kilometers from the place of the attack against the Moroccans, a drone killed the head of the Gendarmera in the Tifariti region. He died in liberated Sahrawi territory, “added the same sources.

Morocco is silent and, as is its custom, has not confirmed or denied the information. Confusion reigns around the attack, especially when an informal military forum in Morocco assured on Facebook that there are more deaths and that they included “foreground elements.” The page adds that the leader of the Polisario Front himself, Brahim ghali, would have “survived” the Moroccan operation, always according to Afp.

The Efe agency cited official Sahrawi sources to point out that Al Bendir was “hit by a drone shot after leading an incursion through the segregation wall.” According to this version, the high command would thus be on the Moroccan side of the wall.

Be that as it may, these reports suggest that the armed conflict continues to escalate into violence since last November 13, the Polisario Front accused Rabat of violating the ceasefire. That day, Moroccan Army forces intervened to end the blockade of the Guerguerat, in the extreme south of the Western Shara, held for three weeks by hundreds of Sahrawi protesters. A day later, the Polisario Front officially declared the end of its commitment to the 1991 agreement and decreed a “state of war.”

Morocco has accelerated modernization of your army in recent years, through a process of acquiring fighters and combat helicopters from the United States. In December it requested the purchase of four US MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones that can be equipped with Hellfire missiles. In addition, it has operated for years with Israeli unmanned devices. Meanwhile, the Polisario Front – whose greatest support in military and political terms is Algeria – does not have an air force. Thus, it has focused its military strategy reactivated in November on harassment with artillery bombardments of Moroccan bases and positions along the wall in the style of guerrilla warfare and avoiding open confrontations, according to the analysis of the military reports published to date. .

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