World Western Sahara: scenes of life on the road to Mauritania

18:55  28 november  2020
18:55  28 november  2020 Source:   bfmtv.com

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After beautiful Morroco me and my incredibly tough father ventured into the notorious, conflict-loaded Western Sahara and Mauritania . There's still lots of mines in the no-mans land in between too. Better to stick to the ' roads '. But guess what? We didn't find anything else than amazing views and

The Mauritania – Western Sahara border is 1,564 kilometres (972 mi) in length and runs from the tripoint with Algeria in the north-east to the Atlantic Ocean in the south- west . The border starts in the north at the tripoint with Algeria, proceeding south in a straight of 146 kilometres (91 mi)

Des hommes se retrouvent près de camions remplis de marchandises à Guerguerat, à l'extrême sud du Sahara occidental, le 26 novembre 2020 © FADEL SENNA Men meet near trucks filled with goods in Guerguerat, in the far south of Western Sahara, November 26, 2020

Three motels, three cafes, two gas stations, three grocery stores and a hairdresser ... In the dusty hamlet of Guerguerat, in the far south of Western Sahara, all life revolves around the border with Mauritania, on the only road connecting Morocco and West Africa.

Des membres de la mission des Nations unies au Sahara occidental sortent d'un hélicoptère, à Guerguerat au Sahara occidental le 25 novembre 2020 © Fadel SENNA Members of the United Nations mission in Western Sahara come out of a helicopter, in Guerguerat in Western Sahara on November 25, 2020

"There is nothing else here", underlines the grocer on more prosperous of Guerguerat, the Moroccan Aziz Boulidane.

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Western Sahara is an area on the west coast of North Africa. A former Spanish colony, its governance is disputed between Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), but most of it is controlled by Morocco.

The Souss Valley, where goats climb argan trees beneath the sun-baked Anti Atlas, draws a line across Morocco. South of this fertile valley, the pace of

This enterprising man has set up a small terrace in front of his shop to serve coffee to truckers and passing travelers, near the Moroccan customs which controls heavy goods vehicles in transit.

It is this border point, located in the heart of an arid and stony desert zone, close to the Atlantic coast, which recently crystallized the tensions between Morocco and the separatists of the Polisario Front, a new episode in a long conflict on the become of the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara.

Des travailleurs vident les marchandises des camions à Guerguerat, au Sahara occidental, le 26 novembre 2020 © FADEL SENNA Workers empty goods from trucks in Guerguerat, Western Sahara, November 26, 2020

The Moroccan army deployed on November 13 in the UN-controlled buffer zone to "secure" a crucial passage for trade. A group of Saharawi independence activists had been blocking for about three weeks the road built, according to them, in violation of the 1991 ceasefire agreement signed under the aegis of the UN after 15 years of fighting.

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Western Sahara is a territory in Northern Africa, bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean, Morocco proper, Algeria (Tindouf region), and Mauritania . Geographic coordinates: 24°30′N 13°00′W / 24.500°N 13.000°W. Total: 266,060 square kilometres (102,730 sq mi), about the size of Colorado. land: 266

Mauritania . The land of which, since ancient times, a thousand poets have sung. The country of the bidanes. And of the ADRAR TMAR, the fabulous mountains of

Since then, Morocco has consolidated its positions on the ground by protecting the passage with a sand wall guarded by the military and by breaking down the last stretch of road which is reduced to an interlacing of sand tracks.

The operation was carried out "in the interest of Africa, Morocco and the countries of the North", assured the Moroccan Prime Minister, Saad-Eddine El Othmani, who went there for the first time Friday, along with a delegation of politicians.

- "Gateway to Africa" ​​-

"The border post has an important economic weight and generates significant income", explains El Fekir Khattat, an elected municipal official who proudly describes his region as "Morocco's door to the 'Africa".

The intervention of the Moroccan army "will strengthen economic attractiveness", he said.

The elected representative is counting on the construction of two industrial zones "to enhance the commercial activity" generated by the road and to "create employment" in this desert region and sparsely populated.

W. Sahara flare-up spells gloom for buffer zone businesses

  W. Sahara flare-up spells gloom for buffer zone businesses Kamal Zerfi has long run a junkyard in a no-man's land on the far edge of the Sahara desert. Then government soldiers came and things took a turn for the worse. Zerfi lives in a remote outpost of the Western Sahara region claimed by both Morocco and Polisario Front pro-independence rebels who recently revived their three-decade struggle. His auto- and scrapyard is located at the desolate truck stop of Guerguerat in a UN-patrolled buffer zone along the Mauritanian border, where the deployment of Moroccan soldiers has now put paid to his lucrative business.

Ancient Egyptians believed the Sahara to be the Land of the Dead, and the sunset side of the desert It is no coincidence that the Valley of the Kings and the Old Kingdom Pyramids are on the western Treasure of Mauritania : Chinguetti, located around 325 miles away from the Mauritanian capital of

Oasis Desert Pictures Cap Vert Western Sahara Desert Life Largest Countries North Africa Sierra Mauritania - women with henna tattoos - Inchiri. Two Muslim women with their hands decorated. Traditional Sailing Boats in the Banc D'Arguin, Mauritania , Africa Photographic Print by Michael

Rabat has already carried out several major projects in this territory rich in fish-bearing waters and phosphate deposits.

The Polisario Front denounces "the plundering of natural resources belonging to the Saharawi people".

It was in 2017, the year of Morocco's reintegration into the African Union, that King Mohamed VI released seven billion euros of investments to transform this part of the Sahara into an "economic hub".

Two of the projects, each representing an envelope of nearly one billion euros, concern the development of a north-south "expressway" over a thousand km and the transformation of the port of Dakhla into a "regional maritime hub ", to serve the north of Morocco, the ports of West Africa and the Canaries.

- "Strategic point" -

Daouda Sene, the manager of the Barbas hotel, the oldest establishment in the Guerguerat region, prides himself on working in "a strategic point on the international level".

"This is where all Europeans and Africans who want to go to West Africa go," underlines the 46-year-old Senegalese, who was recruited a few months ago to "improve the image and the level of the motel, located at Bir Gandouz, 80 km north of the border.

Normally, his establishment welcomes "all nationalities": Malians, Senegalese, Ivorians, Mauritanians, Gambians, Moroccans, for transport and trade; French, Spanish, Portuguese or Chinese for leisure travel, tourism or fishing.

But in recent months, activity has suffered from the closure of borders linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, then blockades by the Polisario Front on the road.

"Before, the hotel worked well, but the turnover has fallen", regrets the manager.

However, he remains convinced that the town of Bir Gandouz, which currently has a thousand souls, will one day become a large tourist and commercial center, "larger than the port of Dakhla".

Currently, some 200 trucks use the "Nationale 1" daily, through which camels raised freely in the desert sometimes cross.

hr-sof / awa / bfi

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