Seven dead in Western Sahara “football riot”

The death toll from clashes following a soccer match in Western Sahara on Sept. 25 has reached seven, Morocco’s MAP official news agency reports, making it the worst violence in the occupied territory since last November. Residents in Dakhla, the site of the match, told Reuters that clashes between ethnic Sahrawi supporters of the home team and Moroccan settlers who supported the visiting team from a town near Casablanca continued until early on Sept. 27. Street-fighting spread through the town as police used teargas, and army troops were ordered into two neighborhoods to restore order.

The match was between Western Sahara’s club Mouloudia Dakhla and the visiting Chabab Mohammadia, from the Moroccan town of Mohammadia, outside Casablanca. Authorities told Reuters that two police officials were among the seven killed. MAP said three of the victims were killed when they were run over by “ex-convicts aboard a four-wheel-drive vehicle.” Moroccan Communication Minister Khalid Naciri likened the violence to “hooliganism that can happen anywhere around the world,” but did not dismiss possible political motivations. “Some people may be seeking to take advantage of these riots to spread instability” Naciri told Reuters by telephone. “We don’t expect enemies of unity to sit idle.” (Mancunion, Sept. 28)

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