Algeria has accused Morocco of “targeted killings” of three people, after press reports of a deadly attack by the kingdom on the edge of the disputed Western Sahara.
Media linked to the Polisario independence movement reported a Moroccan air strike early on Sunday against trucks close to the border between the desert territory and Mauritania, killing three people of unknown nationalities.
The alleged killings could not be independently verified, and neither Morocco nor Mauritania have commented.
“Algeria strongly condemns the targeted assassinations committed by using sophisticated weapons of war … against civilians,” a statement released by Algeria’s Foreign Ministry said.
There was no immediate reaction from Mauritania or Morocco.
Morocco considers sparsely populated Western Sahara a part of its territories. The Algeria-backed Polisario Front wants to establish its own state there.
Rabat ignored a similar accusation in November, when Algeria said Morocco targeted Algerian truckers in an area in eastern Western Sahara, where the Polisario said in 2020 it was resuming its “armed struggle.”
However, there is no evidence of serious fighting. Morocco said it was attached to the UN-brokered ceasefire agreement but would respond to any attack on Western Sahara territories.
Relations between Algeria and Morocco have been bad for decades and the border between them closed since 1994.
Algeria cut ties with Morocco in August last year, accusing its neighbour of working together with Israel to undermine its security, igniting fires in the Kabylie region and supporting an independent group the Amazigh-speaking region.
It then closed its airspace to all Moroccan aircrafts and halted a pipeline deal that carries gas to Spain via Morocco.
Morocco called the accusations false and absurd.
Rabat says the most it can offer as a political solution to the Western Sahara conflict is autonomy within its sovereignty.
Most recently Spain and Israel gave support to Morocco’s plan, joining the United States, Germany and other countries in the Arab World and Africa.