The UN Mission in Western Sahara, “MINURSO”, called its troops to order, following a serious drift of some of its soldiers deployed in the Tindouf camps.
This is the first time in the history of the UN mission entrusted with monitoring the cease-fire in the region since 1991, that such a thing happens.
A video posted on You Tube on April 23 showed soldiers of the mission in a tent trying to persuade young Sahrawis of Tindouf to rebel against Moroccan law enforcement forces in Western Sahara. Following the video posting, one of the soldiers, an Egyptian national, was secretly fired by the MINURSO command on Friday, May 17
The Egyptian soldier, Hany Mustapha, wearing the blue distinctive UN uniform, was filmed with a mobile phone by one of the Sahrawis present at the heated debate. He was trying to encourage the Sahrawi separatists to claim their rights by force.
“This land is yours and nobody will take it away from you,” he was shown telling, in Egyptian dialect, about twenty attentive young Sahrawis.
In a more serious tone, the Egyptian soldier who was accompanied by other members of the mission, including Argentinean Julio Eduardo Estibar, encouraged the young Sahrawis to “exploit every opportunity to rise up like the Egyptians in Tahrir Square” in Cairo.
After the dissemination of the compromising video on You Tube, the MINURSO command, feeling very embarrassed, had just said that an investigation has been opened.
Three weeks later, the MINURSO confirmed through its spokesman that measures have been taken in this regard, without disclosing these measures.
The Moroccan press has however reported that the Egyptian soldier was dismissed and sent back home.
The MINURSO officers are probably very embarrassed especially that not long ago, a heated debate took place at the UN Security Council about the expansion of the MINURSO mandate to human rights monitoring in the Sahara.
But the video incident gave an irrefutable proof that the UN peacekeepers, who violated the sacred principle of neutrality and dealt a blow to the MINURSO credibility, are not entirely irreproachable.
The MINURSO blue helmets are not however the only persons violating the principle of neutrality. Two activists from Amnesty International (AI) were filmed in the Western Sahara trying to explain to Sahrawi separatists how to stage provocative demonstrations.
The AI militants were giving their lessons at meetings held at the home of Sahrawi activist Aminatou Haider in Laayoune. The meetings took place on the eve and during independence-seeking demonstrations in which nearly 200 persons were injured, more than two thirds of them in the ranks of the Moroccan security forces.