Violence of Moroccan settlers against Saharawis encouraged by the occupying power

PUSL.- Brahim Hmad, a Saharawi from the occupied territories of Western Sahara, was brutally attacked by Moroccan settlers on 15 September at 2:30 a.m. in El Aaiun.

These attacks perpetrated by Moroccan settlers against Saharawis have increased in recent years, with total impunity and without prosecution by the occupation authorities or attempts to find the culprits.

The most known case was that of Mohamed Lamin Haidala, a victim of an attack that ended up dying in Moroccan police custody after serious medical neglect and torture on 8th February 2015. The mother has been claiming her son’s body for years, there was no investigation, no autopsy, no funeral.

The Hmad family is known for their activism in defense of human rights. Fadili, one of Brahim’s cousins, was murdered in Dakhla, and the family home burned.

In the account below Brahim describes his torment, how he was attacked in the street, when he was going to the store in the neighborhood, by Moroccan settlers armed with machetes that cut him throughout the body.

After hours of abandonment in the hospital despite the evident wounds and bleeding profusely he ended up being attended only by a nurse, without having been carried out complementary examinations nor was the police called.

Brahim himself, after his wounds have been sewn, that had to go to the police station inside the Ben El Mehdi Hospital to make a complaint, a complaint that was ignored, with the excuse that they could not do anything because he did not know the names of the attackers.

This report is one of many examples of what the Saharawi population suffers in the occupied territories, where Saharawi are not only kept under constant siege by hundreds of thousands of police, military, and auxiliary forces, but also by the hundreds of thousands of settlers who act as an extension of the the arm of the repression and the apartheid imposed with the silence of the international community and of the United Nations mission in the territory, MINURSO.

Testemony of Brahim Hmad

Date: September 15, 2018, 2: 30 a.m.

El Aaiun, Western Sahara.

I went out at night to buy tobacco, water and things I needed in a store on Smara Avenue, I was suddenly cornered by a band of Moroccan settlers with motorcycles and machetes, I could not believe what was happening, I thought it was not me they wanted, I tried to avoid them and change direction, that was when I realized they were going to attack me… They started attacking me with their machetes and I had no choice but to try to defend myself, it was horrible, I did not assimilate what was happening, and the attacks did not stop … I was getting cuts from machetes everywhere on my body, they were more than me, they were more than seven (the ones I could count at least) and when they saw that I was hurt everywhere, they went away and left me there bleeding, I thought I did not have to give up, I got up, I went looking for help and I had to go several blocks from where I was in case they came back for me, I went to a taxi that refused to take me because I was bleeding and he told me he could not take me in that state, but he would call an ambulance, I said yes, he called. They took me in the ambulance to the hospital “Ben el Mehdi”.

Upon entering there in the emergencies, I was left unattended for hours waiting until a Saharawi nurse arrived and asked me what had happened to me, I told him what happened and then he took me to a room. Seeing my cuts and wounds he was outraged, he tried to calm me down and began to sew my hands, my head and all the cuts I had, which were many and hurt me very much. He got so angry that he asked me if I had reported the attack, I told him not yet, and immediately after went to the police station in the hospital. One of them came, he asked me a couple of questions and he said they could not do anything if I did not know who they were. Immediately I understood the situation, I knew that they did not care at all what had happened to me for many reasons, because my uncle Hmad Hammad is an activist and a faithful defender of the Saharawi cause and of human rights and for my brother who had suffered and was beaten by the gendarmerie twice before and my cousin Sadboh was imprisoned after Gdeim Izik and my cousin Fadili who was murdered in Dakhla, they burned down his family’s house and they entered our houses to destroy them more than once.

These people do not stop with their daily attacks that not only my family or I suffer, but all the Sahrawis in general, who are exposed to this type of savagery. Many have lost their lives in attacks of this kind, and no one assures us of our safety in our own land. The settlers are increasingly more than us and use these methods to shut us up, to press us and sow fear in our hearts. Hundreds of Saharawi people are abused every day, violated, vexed, tortured in the territories occupied by Morocco, regardless of age or differentiating between children, adults, women or men, any bait is valid for these inhuman and heartless beings who seek to take away our dignity as people while the world looks the other way …

In spite of everything we will continue fighting, believing in our just cause and in the day of our freedom.

“Death is a natural law, but humiliation is not.”

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