Politics Threaten Dakar Rally
According to a report on Eurosport, the Polisario Front independence movement threatened on Saturday to break a U.N.-brokered ceasefire and disrupt the Paris-Dakar rally when it crosses from Morocco into the disputed Western Sahara. The movement, backed by Algeria, said that to have the rally go through Western Sahara was “an insult to the Sahrawi people, a challenge to the United Nations, and therefore a violation of the ceasefire in effect since September 1991,” the report states.
The 23rd Paris-Dakar rally starts from the French capital on New Year’s Day before a 6200-mile trek across southern Europe and North Africa to Senegal. The Polisario, in a communique carried by Algeria’s official APS news agency monitored in Rabat, said it would “take up arms again on the day the rally crosses the Moroccan-Sahrawi border.” This “resumption of military activities will be in self-defence,” it added. The race reaches Morocco on January 4 and crosses into Western Sahara on January 7.