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Youth yearning for independence fuel Western Sahara clashes

By ARITZ PARRA
Associated Press

MAHBAS REGION, Western Sahara (AP) — For nearly 30 years, the vast territory of Western Sahara in the North African desert has existed in limbo, awaiting a referendum that was supposed to let the local Sahrawi people decide their future. On one side, the Polisario Front wants the territory to be independent, while Morocco claims the area for itself. As negotiations over who would be allowed to vote dragged on, Morocco tightened its control of the territory. Last year, the Polisario Front announced it would no longer abide by the 1991 cease-fire that ended its 16-year guerilla war with Morocco. The current hostilities are fueled by frustration among Sahrawi youth who are tired of waiting for the U.N.-promised referendum.

The Associated Press

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