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Why Sahrawis see more hope in war than in peace

Sahrawi leaders are growing ever-more impatient — and becoming more vocal about it — as little has been accomplished in the 25 years they have waited peacefully for change.
Sahrawis watch a mine explode during a demonstration organised by officials from the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) to show the hazards of mined territory near Tifariti, in the Sahara desert in southwestern Algeria, February 28, 2011. Over 150,000 Sahrawis live in several refugee camps dispersed in the Algerian desert 35 years after Morocco annexed the disputed territory of Western Sahara. REUTERS/Juan Medina (ALGERIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR2J9CS
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TINDOUF, Algeria — After evaluating 25 years of peace, Sahrawi officials and some civil society players agree that armed struggle is the only option they can depend on to reach their goal of independence.

Sept. 6 marked the 25th anniversary of the United Nations-sponsored cease-fire agreement in Western Sahara between Morocco and the Polisario Front, the Sahrawi independence movement. The peace accord was supposed to be followed by a referendum in which the Sahrawis would choose their system of governance from three options: integration with Morocco, autonomy or independence. But the planned vote was canceled after Morocco refused to allow any process that would include independence as a choice. The dispute is still ongoing, with continued tension.

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