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Algeria warns MINURSO about kidnapping risks in the Tindouf camps

In an unprecedented move, the Algerian government has warned MINURSO members of kidnapping risks in the Tindouf camps, endorsing the recent recommendations of Spain. The latter has advised its nationals against traveling to the camps.

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MINURSO members. / DR

In an unprecedented move, Algeria has issued a «security alert to MINURSO, referring to a plan of kidnapping foreigners in refugee camps and areas near the Sand Wall». The Algerian «warning» was sent to MINURSO, reports Algerian newspaper TSA, which relayed a series of security measures for the members of the United Nations peacekeeping mission.

These recommendations are based on «reports» suggesting that a criminal network is planning to abduct foreigners in the refugee camps and near the Sand Wall, the same source said.

The «alert» sent to MINURSO is the first of its kind, especially due to the fact that camps’ security is entrusted to the Algerian army, and not the blue helmets.

Algeria endorses Spain's warnings

In its letter to the UN peacekeeping mission, the Algerian government urged MINURSO to «stop its activities by 10 pm (curfew) except in emergency cases», stressing that «any operation after 10 pm must be escorted». The document also called the mission to «follow movement procedures and protocols» and «procedures for parking UN vehicles».

The letter sent to MINURSO is the first reaction of Algeria after the Spanish Foreign Ministry issued a warning, November 27, advising its nationals against traveling to the Tindouf camps.  

The letter indicates that Algeria seems convinced by the explanations provided by the Spanish government when it comes to visiting the Tindouf camps, as formerly reported by the Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska on November 28.

On the same day, Spain's Defense Minister Margarita Robles said that «foreign intelligence services operating in the area have confirmed the threat» of kidnapping. «Risks targeting Spanish citizens who could go to the Tindouf camps are imminent», she warned.

The alert issued by the Algerian government is, moreover, contradicting the explanations provided last month by the leadership of the Polisario Front on the subject.

On November 29, the coordinator of the separatist movement with MINURSO, M'Hamed Khaddad, called Spain's warning warning «unjustified», illustrating, according to him, «the complicity of the Spanish government» with Morocco.

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