The prevailing insecurity in the Tindouf camps and in southern Algeria is of great concern to NGOs and humanitarian organizations operating in the region.
Due to the proximity of this area with northern Mali where the French army is still chasing fighters of terrorist groups, the MINURSO has recently expressed concern about the safety of its personnel deployed in the Tindouf camps and recalled the kidnapping less than two years ago of three Western humanitarian workers in the Hassi Rabouni camp, where the Polisario headquarters are based.
The UN mission in charge of monitoring the cease-fire in Western Sahara in the buffer zone between southern Moroccan and south western Algeria and northern Mauritania is planning to strengthen its security capabilities, mainly after the abduction of the three humanitarian workers in October 2011 and following the crisis in Mali, says a UN report released on March 12 in New York.
“It is proposed to create the position of Chief (P-5) of the Joint Mission Analysis Cell to strengthen the MINURSO capacities in information collection and analysis, mainly in security matters, after the kidnapping of NGOs’ members in October 2011, and due to the presence of armed groups in the region,” says the UN document on the MINURSO budget for the July 2013 / June 2014 period.
“The crisis in Mali is another destabilizing element at the gates of Mauritania and Algeria,” notes the document.
The new position will allow the Mission to “improve its own analysis capacity since it will centralize information transmitted by UN force units, UN police, the Political Affairs Group and the Security Section and will strengthen cooperation with UN regional bodies and neighboring countries. “
The Malian conflict has increased the risk to see armed terrorists, including elements of the Polisario, escape the Malian battlefield and seek refuge in neighboring countries or in the Tindouf camps, where the level of insecurity is considered relatively high.