A new report commissioned and funded by the European Commission has once again confirmed the collusion of Polisario separatists with gun traffickers and terrorist groups operating in the Sahel and Sub-Sahara regions.
The Sahel-Sahara region has experienced violent incidents involving the MUJAO, the Polisario Front and Ansar Dine during the 2010-2016 period, notes the study conducted by “Project Safte”, an international research project that carries out investigations into terrorists’ access to the illegal firearms trade, the Flemish Institute for Peace reported Wednesday.
The report, titled “Illegal Markets and the Acquisition of Firearms by Terrorist Networks in Europe” and compiled by an international group of firearms experts, notes that the Polisario’s collusion with terrorist groups operating in the region was facilitated by the chaotic situation in Libya and the inability of countries in the region to monitor their borders.
According to the document, “the capacity of states in the Sahel region to monitor their borders is quite limited because the desert environment is traditionally a circulation area where the few official crossing points are easily detoured by traditional smugglers and new traffickers”.
Project Safte assures in its report that the Polisario Front has currently a “surplus of weapons” after it benefited greatly from the availability and circulation of firearms on the black market, heightened by the fall of Kaddhafi’s regime and the ongoing conflicts between rival factions in this country.
In addition to its involvement in terrorism, the Polisario, owing to the support of Algeria and after the fall of the Kaddhafi regime, has acquired a relatively large arsenal and is now engaged in the highly lucrative business of illegal arms sales.
“The Polisario now has enough weapons to sell and supply the regional market”, adds Project Safte in its report, noting that in the absence of a solution to the Sahara issue, the area remains accessible to gun traffickers and smugglers.
The report finally warns the European Union against the potential risk of illicit transfer of part of this arsenal to the EU space.