Guerguerat, Western Sahara, Nov 20 (EFE).- Morocco has shored up its security presence in Guerguerat, near the buffer zone between Western Sahara and Mauritania, a year after a military operation ended a decades-long ceasefire in the region.
Efe journalists verified the changes introduced to area where last year Moroccan forces launched action to expel militants from the Western Saharan independence movement, the Polisario Front, who for weeks had blocked the road that crosses the strip of no man’s land.
Over the past year, Morocco has permitted the development of a border town on the Saharawi side of the border, including new gas stations, commercial premises, money transfer agencies and restaurants.
The Polisario Front considers these moves illegal.
Morocco has also extended its influence over the buffer zone by establishing a checkpoint.
The checkpoint is made up of two large metal containers and is run by agents of the Moroccan Gendarmerie, who inspect all vehicles with police dogs.
Crossing Guerguerat is like going through any other border crossing, as the Moroccan security forces check baggage and travel documents.
However, a large Moroccan and Mauritanian military presence is noted on both sides of the border, where they are stationed to prevent infiltration by Polisario fighters or sub-Saharan immigrants.
After crossing no man’s zone, the Mauritanian border complies with all security and customs control requirements.
A minibus operates along the few kilometers that separate the two border posts, as do unofficial Mauritanian taxi drivers, who do not enter Moroccan-administered territory.