Irina Tsukerman

 The dangerous links between the polisario and international terrorist organizations, as well as criminal networks and traffickers of all kinds operating in the Sahelo-Saharan region, have been exposed by international experts to the 4th United Nations Committee.

Speaking as a petitioner before the Committee, New York-based human rights and national security analyst and lawyer Irina Tsukerman explained how polisario separatists have been infiltrated by jihadist and terrorist groups, with the aim of carrying out destabilizing projects and attacks on countries in the region.


"In December 2018, I interviewed several former polisario prisoners and relatives of former inmates based in Dakhla. Through their accounts, I learned not only about the extreme abuses they had endured during their imprisonment, notably brutal torture, but also about the security problems associated with collusion between the polisario and the main international terrorist organizations," the US petitioner said.


"The accounts included detailed descriptions of tunnels dug in the Tindouf camps by an international terrorist group, in full view of all," she noted, adding that these tunnels are used to carry weapons but also terrorists who have come to train polisario fighters.


The former prisoners also described smuggling operations, which include illicit sales of various contraband products, such as drugs and weapons, to various criminal organizations operating in the region, Tsukerman added.


For her part, Susan Ashcraft, a former special agent of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), also warned, before the 4th Committee, that "military organizations such as Hezbollah have established training camps in the Tindouf camps in southwest Algeria and are constantly seeking to recruit desperate and vulnerable youth from these camps for terrorist purposes, smuggling, and drug and human trafficking".


In this regard, Ashcraft noted that since the Arab spring, jihadist militant groups and drug cartels in Latin America have joined forces to transport more drugs, weapons and human beings through the Sahelo-Saharan region.


According to her, Al-Qaida, Boko Haram and Al-Shabab extend their sphere of influence throughout the African continent, as well as on the Tindouf camps which are infiltrated by some of these groups.