BCIJ: More than 100 Polisario Separatists Belong to Al-Qaeda

The Polisario Front operates in mini terrorist groups, or within Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.

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The Polisario Front operates in mini terrorist groups, or within Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.

The Director of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), Cherkaoui Habboub, revealed in an interview with “Jeune Afrique”, that more than 100 Polisario separatists are part of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

According to Habboub, “It has been proven that there is a mentality within the Tindouf camps and we have received ideological awareness by the camp imams, which is also a factor that made the Sahel region what it is today: a threat to Morocco as it is to other countries.”

The Director of the BCIJ indicated that in the face of the danger of these organizations, regional security cooperation is an indispensable condition for eliminating the existing threat, expressing his regret for the lack of cooperation with Algeria, and considering that it is dangerous matter, but also an obstacle that stands in the way of the efforts made by countries of the region and the rest of the world, in order to combat this phenomenon.

The official also stated that there is an Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), led by Adnane Abou Walid al-Sahraoui, born in Laayoune and a former active member of the “Polisario” front, who, during the years 2016-2020, adopted a number of terrorist operations in the region, adding that the United States is granting 5 million dollars to anyone who provides information leading to his location.

Regarding the Moroccan approach adopted to confront this threat, Habboub explained that since the bombings of May 16th, 2003, Morocco, under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, has adopted a comprehensive, integrated and multidimensional approach, in which vigilance and preemption are main pillars.

He emphasized that “these two principles are essential today in facing the threat in the Sahel region,” noting that, in addition to this, the return of Moroccan terrorist fighters “is one of the major challenges for the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations”, mentioning that 1,654 Moroccans have joined the Islamic State terrorist organization since its emergence in 2014, and that these individuals have received training in the manufacture of explosives and the preparation of lethal substances, among other things.

Regarding Moroccan cooperation in the field of combating terrorism, he affirmed that Morocco is fully committed to countering terrorism, along with its partners within the international coalition against terrorism, noting that this part of experience-sharing, exchange of information and the continuous security coordination, as well as the exchange in the field of training, pointing out that “a number of African officials received their training in Morocco.” These officials are mainly from as Mauritania, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Madagascar and Tanzania.

On a final note, Habboub described the outcome of the BCIJ as “extremely satisfactory.” Since its creation, 82 cells have been dismantled, of which 76 are linked to the Islamic State. In addition, 1,338 persons (14 women and 33 minors) were arrested, while 54 detainees have terrorism-related case histories.

The official concluded that “If we want to talk in general about the Moroccan outcome in the field of fighting terrorism, the Kingdom has managed to dismantle 209 cells since 2002. In 2020, the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations was able to dismantle 8 terrorist cells.”

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