The leader of the Polisario Front is dead
The leader of the Polisario Front, Mohamed Abdelaziz, died Tuesday “following a long illness”, was a leader of the movement fighting for 40 years. The General Secretariat of the Front, based in Tindouf camps, decreed national mourning of 40 days.
Mohamed Abdelaziz will, according to Sahrawi leaders be buried in what the Polisario called “liberated territories”, located behind the defensive wall erected by Morocco. The General Secretariat of the Front, based in Tindouf camps, decreed national mourning of 40 days.
Mohamed Abdelaziz, whose real name is Mohamed Erguibi, was born in 1947 in Marrakech, in a pro-Moroccan family. His father, Erguib Khalili, was sergeant of the royal army. Only two of her sisters live in the Polisario camps: the vast majority of the rest of his siblings, which has 13 members, lives in Morocco. Some of them are even fiercely committed to the Moroccan Sahara. This is the case of Mohamed Salem, the NGO president Unionist Scouts of the Moroccan Sahara.
Mohamed Abdelaziz’s commitment started in the late 1960s when the medical student meeting in Rabat and Casablanca the first Sahrawi nationalist militants, who then frequented the Moroccan universities. In these very activist circles, he cut his teeth in politics before moving to the underground and open struggle.
Alongside Mustapha Sayed El Ouali, he participated in the creation of the Polisario Front in May 1973 and quickly became one of the main military leaders. A turning point occurs in the late 1980s movement understands that the solution to the conflict can not be military and expresses a desire for peace. A first meeting between the Polisario and King Hassan II embodies this commitment in January 1989.
In 1991, the Polisario thus disarms. Since then the movement expects to organize a self-determination referendum under the auspices of the UN. Finally, to break the deadlock, Morocco deposited in 2007 a bold autonomy plan which registered the future of the Sahara in the context of decentralization and democratic openness of the kingdom. Since it is the status quo.
Morocco considers him as a man who “betrayed his country”. Moroccans considering the Western Sahara as territories conquered in 1975 in the wake of the green March. Mohamed Abdelaziz shared the lives of the Saharawi refugees in the camps in the Tindouf region in the extreme south-western Algeria.
Married to the daughter of a former Wali of Tindouf, Khadija Hamdi (current Minister of Culture of the SADR), Mohamed Abdelaziz was the father of six. Speaking as easily in Arabic and French or Spanish, and of course in the Saharawi dialect hassanya, the Saharawi leader sported a beard shaped goatee and wearing either the traditional long blue gandoura a Western suit but his preference was for military fatigues, without lace or distinction.