Brahim Gali, leader of a pro-independence group in Western Sahara, declared war in Morocco on Saturday, breaking a decade-old ceasefire, the New York Times reports.
Why it matters: The declaration could spark years of hostility between an armed conflict and the state and Morocco’s neighboring Algeria, which hosts the independence group, the Polisario Front.
- The Times conflict writes, “The ongoing conflict has led to Morocco controlling about 80 percent of the disputed territory, leaving thousands of Saharawis in displaced positions near the Algerian city of Tindouf.”
big picture: Morocco began breaking down the day after a military campaign was launched in a UN patrolled buffer zone to open a road blocked by Moroccan supporters.
- According to the Times, escalating tensions between the groups have raised concerns of the United Nations, the African Union and countries in North Africa and the Middle East.
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement on Friday that he is “determined to do everything possible to remove all obstacles to resume the political process.”