Italy Must Investigate Fate of its Humanitarian Aid to Tindouf Camps (Expert)

The Italian government must investigate the fate of humanitarian aid to the Tindouf camps in Algeria, said international policy expert Marco Iaconetti.

In press articles he published after the latest revelations about the continued diversion of European humanitarian aid by the polisario and Algeria, Iaconetti recalled that Italy, a founding member of the EU, is one of the donors of humanitarian aid to the Tindouf camps.


"As the WFP website reports, Italy has provided a total of about $2.5 million over the last five years," he said.


"Millions of euros have left Italy to support programs of food aid, health, logistics and much more for a population that is surviving in the Algerian desert under extreme conditions," wrote the Italian expert, noting that it is quite legitimate to wonder whether Italian taxpayers' money "has not ended up among the embezzled sums and whether the Italian government intends to launch an investigation into the matter".


He noted that this is a very relevant issue "because, in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, the Italian government gave another half million euros to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to help the Algerian Sahara refugees in Tindouf".


He pointed out that "helping the most needy is a sacred principle that testifies to Italian solidarity in the world, but it is a duty to the Italian taxpayer to ensure that such aid does not end up in the wrong hands".


The Italian expert noted that "millions of euros of European taxpayers' money are at stake, while the conditions of the refugees have remained unchanged", adding that "the aim of the aid was supposed to be humanitarian, but in reality it turned out that much of it was used to buy arms".


This context, he added, fosters the radicalization of young people in the Tindouf camps and their recruitment into the ranks of terrorist groups that pose a threat to the region and Europe.


The expert also pointed to the kidnapping of international aid workers in the Tindouf camps, recalling the case of Italian Rossella Urru "kidnapped by Al Qaeda terrorists on 23 October 2011 in the Tindouf camps with two of her Spanish colleagues".


"Apart from the profitability of kidnappings, slavery is another serious phenomenon denounced for years by human rights NGOs in these camps," recalled the Italian expert, stressing that "often very young girls are sold by their fathers to elderly husbands in exchange for financial compensation".


The actions cannot go unnoticed without a firm response from the international community, he concluded.