By Karima Rhanem Morocco TIMES 10/17/2005 | 4:17 am GMT
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mohammed Benaissa, has denied charges that Morocco dumped sub-Saharan African migrants in its southern desert.
The Polisario said it had taken in more than 90 Africans wandering in the desert after Morocco expelled them. The migrants accuse Moroccan security forces of ill-treatment.
However, Benaissa said reports that Morocco had removed and then abandoned some of the migrants in the Sahara desert without food or water were untrue.
He added that the allegations were propaganda orchestrated by the Polisario Front and its ally Algeria.
''Both Algeria and the Polisario launch propaganda against Morocco on a so-called humanitarian basis. This is part of the publicity and the campaign Algeria is launching against Morocco to deviate attention from the real issue, the Sahara conflict," Benaissa stressed.
"The Moroccan government has never, ever dumped any individual, man or woman, anywhere.''
Morocco's government also accused neighbouring Algeria of responsibility for recent unrest on the frontiers between Morocco and Spain's two enclaves in North Africa, during which at least 10 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa were shot dead.
Benaissa accused Algeria of failing to control the trafficking of illegal migrants across its borders.
Algeria backs the Polisario Front, the separatist movement of the disputed Sahara territory annexed by Morocco in 1975.