Morocco’s Occupation Policies Put Saharawis at Risk of COVID-19

Mohamed Laghdaf Eddah inside the newsroom of Laayoune TV. Photo credit / Telquel

Mohamed Laghdaf Eddah inside the newsroom of Laayoune TV. Photo credit / Telquel


Nushatta Foundation Staff
Friday 1st May 2020.
 
( Western Sahara ) El-Aaiùn – On March 20, 2020, Morocco declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While protective measures were officially implemented in both the country of Morocco and the occupied territory of Western Sahara, Morocco has repeatedly operated outside of its own regulations with regards to movements inside of Western Sahara. They have allowed military personnel and high Moroccan officals to enter Western Sahara and carry out government tasks.
 
 
A number of fishermen have also crossed over from Morocco into the occupied territory of Western Sahara. These government personnel as well as the fishermen are permitted to move freely and have not been required to self-quarantine when traveling from one region to another.
 
One high-profile example of Moroccan-sanctioned quarantine-breaking is that of Addah Mohamed Laghdaf. Laghdaf is the director of Laayoune TV, a Moroccan-owned television channel in Western Sahara.
 
Laghdaf came from Gulimim city in the south of Morocco, where he was required to adhere to the government’s shelter-in-place order, and entered freely into El-Aaiùn, a city in Western Sahara. In El-Aaiùn, Laghdaf hosted an urgent meeting of his TV station’s staff.
 
 
According to a reliable source from within the televison station, Laghdaf laid out plans during the meeting for a COVID-19-related smear campaign against the Polisario Front.
 
 
“It’s crazy to have a work meeting in physical proximity with someone who has not been tested or held in a self-quarantine yet. He came from a pandemic region,” the source told the media outlet Nushatta Foundation.
 
 
Laayoune TV was founded in 2004 to propagate Morocco’s occupying agenda and to distorting peaceful struggle for independence and the self-determination. It directly linked with the DGED; the General Directorate for Studies and Documentation is the external intelligence, headed by Mohammed Yassain Elmansouri who is rumored to be the mastermind behind the smear campaign against the Polisario front.
 
After the recovery of six Moroccan settlers in the Moroccan-occupied territory of Western Sahara, no Covid-19 cases have been reported yet.

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