Over 100 Polisario separatists active within Al-Qaeda in Maghreb

Head of Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations says regional security cooperation is a sine qua non condition to destroy threat posed by terrorist organisations.

LONDON - More than 100 separatists from the Algeria-backed Polisario Front are active within Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), warned Morocco’s new head of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), in an interview with Jeune Afrique magazine.

“There is an indoctrination in the Tindouf camps that is provided by the imams of the camps. It is also a factor that has made the Sahel region what it is today: a threat to both Morocco and other countries,” said Cherkaoui Habboub.

“This established observation takes us to the involvement of the elements of the Polisario Front in small terrorist groups, either within AQIM or the Islamic State in the greater Sahara,” he added.

Habboub stressed that regional security cooperation was a sine qua non condition to destroy the threat posed by the terrorist organisations.

“Not only is this a danger, but it is also a brake for all the efforts made by the countries of the region and the other world powers to fight against this phenomenon,” said the BCIJ chief.

He said that the Sahel represented a “great danger and a great security challenge” to Morocco, noting that the terrorist threat comes from this vast region which weighs on Morocco and its neighbouring countries.

“This is explained by the political and socio-economic unrest in the region,” said Habboub.

He warned that Al-Qaeda and the IS have found a "fertile ground" in the Sahel.

“There is also the Islamic State in the Grand Sahara (EI-GS), led by Adnane Abou Walid al-Sahraoui - native of Laayoune and former active member of the Polisario front, which claimed several terrorist operations in the region between 2016 and 2020,” said Habboub.

The United States is offering 5 million dollars for any information about Sahraoui’s location.

Habboub stressed that the North African kingdom is not safe from a terrorist threat despite being considered as one of the pioneer countries in the fight against terrorism.

“To put it clearly, we are never safe, and no country in the world can claim to be,” he said.

Regarding Moroccan cooperation in the fight against terrorism, he stressed that Morocco had been fully committed alongside its partners in the international coalition against terrorism since the New York attacks of September 11, 2001.