Algerian soldiers kill two Saharawi civilians

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Algeria AlgeriaThe Algerian army fired on a group of Sahrawi civilians, who carried out the activity of gold seekers who lived in the fields of Tindouf in southern Algeria. The toll is heavy. A young man named Aabidat Oueld Bellal is killed, while Falli Oueld Berka is reported to have been wounded by gunshots.

Witnesses report that the Algerian army fired without warning.  In less than a week, the Algerian army thus killed three Sahrawis and wounded a fourth. In addition, a young man was killed on Thursday, 26 November, by Algerian soldiers in the Dakhla camp south of Tindouf. Camp residents reported that Algerian soldiers stormed a demonstration to arrest and shot a young teenager in the chest while a man was shot and hospitalized.

The Algerian army targets any individual allegedly involved in activities that undermine security. In addition, it regularly carries out operations in Tindouf against people suspected of activism or sedition, a practice denounced by various international organizations. As always, the population of the Tindouf desert camps does not have the right to access the Algerian judiciary to defend themselves.

In recent days, messages have multiplied, denouncing the double murder of the Algerian army in Tindouf. It is not the first time that events of this kind have shaken the fields of Tindouf, and anger rises among the inhabitants of the areas for this kind of abuse. Over the past five years, more than 20 Sahrawis have been killed by Algerian soldiers.

In his report presented to the UN Security Council on the Moroccan Sahara in mid-October, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced the killing of two other Sahrawis in the Tindouf camps, which took place in October 2020, again by the Algerian military. Speaking to the Human Rights Council of extrajudicial executions, Guterres affirmed the two victims were allegedly burned alive after being doused with petrol by some soldiers near the Dakhla camp in Algeria.

UN officials said these violations are part of a more general trend of systematic abuses committed by Algeria against the populations present in the Tindouf camps and migrant children. They especially deplored the repression and discriminatory practices against these populations, which increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Given the isolation from the world that characterizes the camps, human rights experts reiterated that the victims’ families have no right or possibility to initiate legal proceedings in Algerian courts and that they do not dare to report such violations for fear of reprisals.

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