Two Norwegian delegations expelled from occupied Sahara today
In total seven Norwegian citizens were today kicked out of occupied Western Sahara. The group travelled there to interview Saharawis regarding the plans of Kosmos Energy to carry out oil exploration in violation of the wishes of the people of the territory.
The first group, consisting of among others the vice-president of the Labour Party of the city of Bergen, Mr. Rasmus Laupsa Rasmussen, was detained near the bus stop in El Aaiun city around noon. The four Norwegians were then detained by police in the office of the bus station by a dozen police officers, and yelled at and forced to take a car out of the territory.
"We travelled to Wesern Sahara to inverview the Saharawis about the upcoming oil exploration in the territory", Mr. Rasmussen told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
The group was explained they were "Persona non grata", according to Mr. Rasmussen. Around 2 PM, the police car they were was filled with gas, and is now heading towards Agadir.
At 2 PM, another Norwegian delegation consisting of 3 persons, travelling for the student solidarity organisation SAIH, were detained when entering the territory. (photo to right).
"We were simply told we were not welcome to El Aaiun and that people who claim they are tourists cannot visit Western Sahara", Almaz Asfaha told, of the board of SAIH.
4 Norwegian delegations have been expelled from Western Sahara or South Morocco over the course of the last 2 weeks.
Kosmos Energy is planning to drill in Western Sahara in October, and the company has not been in a dialogue with the people of Western Sahara regarding getting a permission to drill there. The company has only approached the occupying power, Morocco.
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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