Saharawi fishermen denied access to the Boujdour harbour

Yesterday morning, 10 January, the Moroccan authorities forcefully prevented 70 young Saharawi fishermen from entering Boujdour’s harbour and the fish market.
Published: 11.01 - 2011 12:49Printer version    
Police cars surrounding the harbour’s entry-point blocked the Saharawi fishermen from getting to their boats. The Saharawi’s ensuing protest led to confrontations with the Moroccan police, allegedly backed by Moroccan settlers who referred to the Saharawi fishermen as ‘strangers’.

dscf5348_300.jpgWestern Sahara Resource Watch has received mobile photos of the Saharawi being stopped by the police.

To settle things, the Moroccan appointed Governor to Boujdour, Mr. Elaarbi Etwaijar, had to come down. Etwaijar maintained that the Saharawi fishermen were excluded because they don’t possess the necessary licenses to fish. He went on to say that the Saharawi’s arriving in group also hindered the functioning of the port system.

Moroccan settlers were reported saying that they will expel ‘those strangers’ if the police doesn’t.

Eyewitnesses, such as the Saharawi ex-political prisoner Sidi Haiba Hbibi, state that Moroccan settlers were gathering in front of the harbour, carrying knifes and other weapons, yet the police made no attempt to stop them. Haiba Hbibi is convinced that this kind of behavior against the native Saharawi population will end in another bloodbath, similar to the recent events in the Gdaim Izik camps and the police’s crash of subsequent peaceful protests in Saharawi cities.

Another Saharawi who used to work in the fish market says that just last Saturday, 38 ton of octopus was exported from Boujdour. To him, this confirms the Moroccan authorities’ attrition of the natural resources of Western Sahara, without any benefit for the territory’s local population, the Saharawi.









Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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