"Seven police officers came to the house where we were having a meeting with local Saharawis. They came in and confiscated our passports and requested us to follow them", Mr. Østring told the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara on phone, noon 21 January.
The two travelled to the territory to talk with Saharawis regarding the referendum which the people of the territory is entitled to. Parts of the territory has been occupied by Morocco since 1975.
The Norwegian duo arrived El Aaiun the evening of 20 January, and spent the night at a local hotel. This morning - as they had a meeting with a local Saharawi group - a group of police officers showed up at the door. They police officers, plain-clothed, confiscated their passports, and requested them to follow them.
The two were Ms. Sofie Brunvoll (21 years, student at the University of Oslo) and Peder Brunvoll, 22 years.
The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara was - via phone - witness to a conversation between Ms. Brunvoll at the checkpoint in El Aaiun, where they their passports were returned and they were ordered to leave.
The police officers repeatedly refused to explain why they were ordered out.
Brunvoll: "Can we come back tomorrow?" Police officer: "No" Brunvoll: "Why not? Police: "Orders"
Mr. Østring told that a man on a motor bike, which could have been an under-cover police officer, had followed them to the Saharawi home that same morning.
"One of the tires of our rental car had been punctured during the time we were inside for the meeting", he told, saying they had to stop by a garage to change tires, accompanied by the police, before they could be expelled.
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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