Morocco raises toll of Western Sahara raid
Ten of those killed were police and the 11th an employee of the state-run phosphates bureau, according to Moroccan officials, who have denied knowledge of the alleged disappearance of an anti-Moroccan activist.
The Polisario Front which opposes Moroccan rule also says 11 people died in the raid to clear 12,000 refugees from the protest camp on Monday, but has indicated some at least were civilians.
Another 723 were injured and 159 went missing after the attack near Laayoune, the main town in the former Spanish territory annexed by Rabat, the Polisario said Tuesday.
"After the events at the Laayoune camp, 163 individuals were arrested and are in detention. They have been no disappearances, contrary to some reports," Laayoune police chief Mohamed Dkhissi told AFP.
Western Sahara activists said that Annaama Asfari, 40, a Polisario sympathiser, had been missing since he was arrested on the eve of the raid.
Press freedom group Reporters without Borders said Tuesday that Morocco was blocking reporters from travelling to Laayoune.
It said about 10 reporters were being prevented from boarding flights for Laayoune at Casablanca airport.
"The international press ... is a direct target of the Moroccan authorities," the group said in a statement.
Western Sahara was annexed by Morocco after Spanish settlers withdrew in 1975. But the Polisario Front fought the Moroccan presence until the United Nations brokered a ceasefire in 1991.
The Polisario Front wants a UN-organised self-determination referendum, with independence as one of the options. Morocco has so far rejected any proposal that goes beyond greater autonomy.
The third round of informal talks between the Polisario Front and Morocco on Western Sahara's future ended Tuesday near New York with both sides only agreeing to meet again in December.
The UN-brokered meeting had begun on an angry note Monday as the Polisario condemned the Moroccan raid, seeing it as an attempt to derail the talks.
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