After announcing bombings, killed FAR soldiers and others taken prisoners, several Polisario and Algerian newspapers have claimed «the military enlistment» of Sub-Saharans by Morocco, or even «the death of an Emirati officer in a bombardment in the Sahara».
Algerian and Polisario media continue to feed the fake news campaign, launched the day after the intervention of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) in El Guerguerate on November 13. Algerian newspapers Ennahar and Echorouk claimed that the Moroccan army would like to «resort to the recruitment of Sub-Saharans» to fight against the Polisario, citing an article by El Espanol.
«The newspaper cited well-informed Moroccan sources that there are constant efforts to change the law on Moroccan citizenship, in order to allow the naturalization of sub-Saharan migrants and to transfer them to fight the Saharawis», Echorouk wrote. The newspaper thus seems convinced that the enrollment of foreign mercenaries requires a regularization of their administrative situation.
Echourouk castigates what it claims was an «inhuman and irresponsible approach by which the Moroccan government seeks to exploit the conditions of these immigrants and to blackmail them with citizenship in exchange for taking up arms against an African people whose land is occupied». A quote that the Algerian media claims to have been relayed by El Espanol although it does not appear anywhere in the latter's article.
The Algerian media swear that this decision would have emanated from the «lack of troops in the royal army» which would have been «highlighted in 2018, when Morocco had to withdraw its military aid to Saudi Arabia to fight the rebels in Yemen because of the state of alert in Western Sahara».
For their part, the Polisario media outlets continued with their propaganda on the situation in the Sahara, several days after the Morocco military intervention to secure the flow of people and goods between Morocco and Mauritania via the Guerguerate border crossing. They thus widely relayed a statement granted to the Polisario press agency by the «Secretary General of the Saharawi Security Ministry» Sidi Ould Oukal, claiming that «the Saharawi People's Liberation Army is bombing Moroccan posts along the security wall».
The same source even claimed that an Emirati officer was killed in one of the operations, while another would have been wounded. The latter would have supposedly been «transported in emergency by a helicopter».
Asked to provide more details, the Polisario representative contented himself with arguing that he «has little information», adding however that the Emirati officers were «on a mission with the Moroccan army to share their technological expertise».
Meanwhile, the separatist movement is continuing its «military communiques», citing «daily» bombings of FAR posts, resulting in «heavy losses». «Flames and smoke escaping from the bases of the Royal Moroccan army following the devastating strikes by the SPLA were observed», assures a statement from the Polisario, relayed by Futuro Sahara.
The fake news swept aside by the UN
The information from El Espanol, widely shared by Algerian media, should be taken with a grain of salt. Its sources from Rabat do not assert that Morocco intends to naturalize Sub-Saharans to enroll them in its army. Asked about compulsory military service, one of the sources, «who works on migration matters», explained to Spanish media that the extension of this service to Sub-Saharan residents «would be logical», in the wake of the overhaul of the National Strategy on Migration and Asylum.
As for the Polisario Front, while the FAR refrained from commenting on the claims relayed by its media, the official MAP agency denied the death of an Emirati officer, pointing to «unfounded false allegations». Moreover, even the UN, which has observers in the Sahara within MINURSO, has barely mentioned «sporadic shooting» in the Sahara, without ever mentioning human losses. «We also continue to receive reports of sporadic shots being fired, and that’s along the northern and eastern portions of the Berm. These incidents have taken place mostly at night», declared Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, on Tuesday.