Truths that were already known by pundits have been confirmed by the facts. The Polisario Front does have links with terrorist groups in the Sahel-Sahara region. The latest evidence to this connection? The release of one of its members in the deal that made the liberation of French hostage Serge Lazarevic possible after a three-year detention in Mali by Al Qaeda in the Islamixc Maghreb (AQIM.)
The release of the French hostage took place on December 9, but it took three days before Malian authorities confirmed the leaks about the controversial deal with the hostage takers. There is no doubt that the release of Serge Lazarevic was greeted with great relief. Many NGOs have, however, denounced the exchange that enabled to release four dangerous terrorists.
The deal that allowed the release of Habib Ould Mahouloud gave an additional evidence to the Polisario’s collusion with jihadist groups, despite the Algeria-backed separatist front’s denials of any connection with AQIM, the Mujao or other armed groups in the region. The denials of the Polisario are proven untrue by the numerous reports drafted by local and Western intelligence services as well as by its members’ involvement in several regional conflicts triggered by terrorists.
The fighters of the Sahrawi movement were actually arrested on various occasions and in various places of the vast Sahel desert. During the popular uprising in Libya, Polisario elements joined Gaddafi’s supporters. They also participated in the jihadist offensive against northern Mali and in incidents in Mauritania.
Members of the separatist front are also very active in the trafficking networks swarming in the Sahara and Sahel desert. They usually operate under the cover of Tuaregs or Arab nomads, but some of them end up being unmasked.
Abdelhak El Fadli