Algeria Issues Evacuation Orders to Figuig Farmers on its Borders

Residents of Figuig in eastern Morocco have received with shock, a notice from the Algerian government to evacuate their farms located along the Algeria-Morocco borders.

The announcement was greeted with apprehension as farm owners call on the Moroccan government for clarification, as they risk losing their lands in El Arja, north-eastern Figuig.

Algeria, which claims the territory containing the farms, has called on the group of Moroccan farmers to evacuate the place before March 18.

Map showing El Arja, north-eastern Figuig

Footages of locals from Figuig protesting Algeria’s move have gone viral. One of the videos shows a farmer who owns a vast plantation of palm trees.

The upset farm owner stated that he and his family had been working on the same land for thirty years and was taken aback by the vacation notice by Algerian soldiers.   

In his cry for help, the farmer said, “They told me to leave the region or else they will arrest and imprison me!”  

In protest against Algeria’s ultimatum, a group of farm owners organised a sit-in this weekend; they waved placards and repeated slogans in defiance of Algeria’s demand that they leave “our lands, livelihood, and ancestral memories” behind.

protesters in Figuig

A 1972 treaty was published in Morocco’s official gazette 1992 on the existing border between Algeria and Morocco does not clarify the status of the El Arja region.

The incident is coming amid an escalation of tensions between Morocco and Algeria. The Algerian government is insisting on targeting Morocco’s territorial integrity, restating its support for Polisario and its self-governance aspirations.

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