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Algeria President Accuses Morocco of Targeting Algerians In Mali

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has accused Morocco of supporting terrorist organizations and being behind the abduction of the country’s diplomats in Mali.

Speaking to Al Jazeera Podcast, Tebboune raised the accusations when asked about Algeria’s position on the situation in Mali, and whether his country supports a democratic transition in the West African country.

“The first victim of [Mali’s] instability is Algeria, we are the only ones who had diplomats abducted, and two of them were martyred,” the president said. “We know who did it. A neighboring country did it through a fake terrorist organization they created in Mali.”

President Tebboune was apparently referring to a case that dates back to 2012, when seven staff members of the Algerian consulate in the Malian city of Gao, including the consul, were abducted by the Islamist Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).

Consul Boualem Sayes died in captivity from a chronic illness, while vice-consul Tahar Touati was executed by the group. Algeria’s foreign ministry announced that two of the kidnapped diplomats were set free in 2014.

One of MUJAO’s senior leaders, serving on its Shura council and as its spokesperson, was Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, who was also part of the Polisario Front in the 90s.

Algeria finances, backs, and arms the Polisario Front, the separatist movement that is claiming an independent nation in the Western Sahara region in southern Morocco.

Tebboune also discussed the Sahara dispute during his interview with Al Jazeera, claiming that his country supports the desires of the Sahrawi people.

He said that the Sahrawi people have “the first and last word” on the issue, adding that the topic is in the hands of the United Nations.

Yet, Algeria has repeatedly refused to engage with the UN’s political process, claiming that it is merely an observer to the dispute while being named as a main party several times in official reports.

In another interview with Al Jazeera in March, President Tebboune blamed Morocco for the deteriorating ties with his country, saying that the relations have reached “the point of no return.”

Algeria cut ties unilaterally with Morocco in August 2021, falsely claiming that Rabat had played a part in igniting the wildfires that devoured the Kabylie region that year.

This was despite Morocco offering to send firefighting jets to help the Algerian authorities to put out the wildfires ravaging the region, as well as King Mohammed VI’s repeatedly calling for a “frank dialogue” to end the tensions between the two countries.

Source : Morocco