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MINURSO military observers intercepted by Polisario in March

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.

(with MAP)
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MINURSO had informed the UN Security Council that, on March 16 in the Tifariti village, MINURSO military observers, who were on duty, were intercepted by armed members of the Polisario front who fired warning gunshot, said Dujarric in his daily press briefing.

«MINURSO reported to the Security Council that on 16 March, in the vicinity of the Tifariti Team Site, MINURSO Military Observers on duty were stopped by armed Frente Polisario members, with shots fired in the air», said the UN spokesperson Thursday answering questions related to the conflict.

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

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

For the record, 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.

Refusing to meet the Polisario outside Rabbouni

Meanwhile, MINURSO announced the same day that it refuses to meet Polisario leaders outside Rabbouni, in Algeria, the venue where such meetings have always been held, said MAP news agency quoting UN sources.

«Since his arrival late December 2017, the Secretary-General Special Representative Colin Stewart, chose to abide by the long-standing practice of holding such meetings in Rabbouni, Algeria,» said UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric in a press briefing.

For the record, yesterday Dujarric announced that «neither Bir Lahlou nor Tifariti fall within the buffer strip».

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