Leader of Western Sahara Polisario dies after illness: news service

Reuters News
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Posted: May 31, 2016 12:29 PM

ALGIERS (Reuters) - The long-standing leader of Western Sahara's Polisario movement, Mohamed Abdelaziz, died on Tuesday after decades of leading a fight for independence in the disputed territory, a Polisario press service said.

The Sahara Press Service said Abdelaziz, who was 68, had suffered from a long illness. Algeria's Ennahar TV, which is close to the Algerian government, also reported his death.

Morocco took over most of the territory in 1975, but Abdelaziz's Polisario Front began a guerrilla war saying the desert region on Africa's northwest belongs to them. Polisario has been based in Algeria since a U.N. ceasefire in 1991.

(Reporting by Patrick Markey; Editing by Mark Heinrich)