Algeria: collateral consequences of diverted aid

olaf-ecAlgerian officials, still feeling bad after the latest revelations about the diversion of the international aid destined to the Polisario-run Tindouf camps, are shooting in the dark to try to discredit the European Union’s accusatory report, and in the course of their counterattack, they sometimes implicitly acknowledge that their assistance to the Polisario Front is not unselfish.

Ramtane Lamamra, the Algerian Foreign Affairs Minister, is spearheading this counterattack planned in emergency and his department quickly ordered the Algerian media to retaliate. Press stories immediately started flowing, denying the contents of the EU Anti-Fraud Office and describing them as “false.”

Obviously cornered, Algerian officials try to show that they are taking lightly the accusations of misappropriation of the humanitarian aid shipped by the European Union and other donors and that the accusations are groundless.

However vehement their denials might be, the report seems accurate as the European Office based its findings on investigations on the ground that started at the Algerian port of Oran where the international humanitarian aid is unloaded.

The document even mentioned the names of Algerian and Polisario officials involved in the trafficking. The networks act methodically from the operation of sorting out the goods received, including those of the EU aid which amounts to € 10 million a year, until the resale of the large quantities diverted.

However, blinded by anger, the media called to the rescue by Lamamra did not take the usual precaution to insist that Algeria is not a party to the Western Sahara conflict. One of these media, pointedly said: “Algeria is not a pirate country and €10 million is worth a mere sandwich for a country like ours.”

The journalist, swept up in the zeal of his own arguments, recalled recklessly that Algeria has been spending “for many years several million dollars” for the Polisario. The message has been well received!


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