The warning issued by the Potomac Institute against the troubling connections existing between the terrorist groups linked to Al Qaeda and the Polisario has been heeded in the U.S. where the Washington Post also expressed fears as to a large scale Jihadi spread in North Africa and the Sahel.
The widely circulated US daily based its analysis on the conclusions of a recent report of The Potomac Institute’s International Center for Terrorism Studies (ICTS) which underlined that the connections between the Algeria-based Polisario Front and terrorist groups were confirmed in 2012.
The Polisario fighters’ collusion was blatant during the bloody occupation of northern Mali by a plethora of jihadist movements and groups. According to the ICTS report, terrorist attacks in the Maghreb and the Sahel increased an alarming 60 percent from the previous year, totalling 230 incidents regionwide, the highest yearly total since 9/11.
The figures translate an impressive upsurge of terrorism in the region compared to the previous year.
This upsurge shows that Al -Qaida is evolving in a fertile ground in North Africa where AQIM and other jihadist groups exploit the situation in the Polisario-run camps near Tindouf by actively recruiting there.
There is thus growing danger of radicalization in these camps, warns the report.
It is not therefore surprising that the ICTS report recommends the dismantling of the Polisario-run Tindouf camps which have become a real “threat to regional security as a fertile recruiting ground for terrorists and smugglers,” warns the ICTS.
The warning is worth heeding, all the more so as this dangerous propagation of terrorism extends beyond North Africa to embrace the Sahel countries as far as Nigeria and Somalia. In this vast area, terrorist groups chose different names but pursue the same destructive and obscurantist goals.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the MUJAO (Movement for the uniqueness and Jihad in West Africa,) Ansar Dine, Boko Haram, Al- Shabab, etc. are the dreadful actors in this terrorist tragic play.