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Four Norwegians, one Lithuanian denied entry to occupied Sahara

Urte Sniaukstaite with Lithuanian-Norwegian citzenship, and four other Norwegians, were this evening stopped in a police control on their way in to Western Sahara, and refused to drive any further. While the police has locked their car into a garage, the group is now located in a hotel in Tan Tan.
Published: 18.01 - 2016 23:10Printer version    
From the left: Frida Johansen, Priya Bains, Kristin Iversen, Urte Sniaukstaite and Sara Shafighi.

The five were stopped around 5PM this afternoon in a police control by the town of Tan Tan in the very south of Morocco. They were questioned for around 2 hours until they were taken to a hotel in the town.

The group was given the choice between driving all the way back to Agadir during the night, or to stay at the hotel. Since they were stopped, plain clothed police officers have been following them. They are also present at the hotel. It was out of the question to drive further south in to Western Sahara, according to the police.

"A hundred Norwegians have been here the last time, causing a situation which makes it impossible for you to continue further south", the man in the police control stated.

"While we spoke with the police officers, a gentleman in suit came driving, stopping next to us. He came out of the car, saying 'don't search for problems, you are in Morocco'. Then he left again", Priya Bains from Trondheim told.

"We are now out for a small walk in the town, the police are following us constantly", Urte Sniaukstaite told The Norwegian Support Committee. Sniaukstaite is Lithuanian-Norwegian citizen.

The poice has locked the car inside a garage waiting for the dawn. Then, they are planning to drive back to Agadir. The group consists of three pupils at Åsane Folk High School, and two students at University of Trondheim.

The five wanted to talk with Saharawis regardig the UN's work for a referendum for the Saharawi people. The UN operation for a referendum was established in 1991, but the referendum has still not taken place. The UN still considers Western Sahara as the last unresolved colonial territory in Africa and has passed more than 100 UN resolutions on self-determination.



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Since 1975, three quarters of the territory of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco. A majority of the population is still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Those who remained in their homeland are subjected to serious harassment from the Moroccan occupiers. For more than 40 years the Sahrawis have been waiting for the fullfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.

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