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Western Sahara: A who’s who of the SADR’s leading figures

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Wednesday, 12 May 2021 09:22, updated on Thursday, 13 May 2021 10:15

45 years after its proclamation, how is the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic doing ? Currently its leader is hospitalised in Spain, it has faced diplomatic setbacks and has ageing military equipment...We have this visual overview of the SADR.


A former Spanish colony, Western Sahara was immediately annexed by Morocco in 1975, at the same time the indigenous people of Sahrawi claimed it as their own. This culminated in the creation of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR)  in 1976, led by the Polisario Front.

In 1984, the African Union recognised Western Sahara’s independence and membership into the union, with Morocco leaving the organisation in protest. But in the eyes of many, Morocco’s annexation is considered a form of colonisation.

An insurgency of nearly 20 years ended in 1991 with a UN-brokered truce and the promise of a referendum on independence that has yet to take place.

Once again at war with Morocco today, the SADR continues to try to claim Western Sahara as its own. A prospect which, despite receiving support from Algeria and a dozen African countries, seems less and less likely to occur.

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