News24

Foreigners kidnapped from Algeria camp

2011-10-23 19:08

Madrid - Two Spaniards and an Italian working at a refugee camp in western Algeria were kidnapped early on Sunday, Spain's foreign ministry said.

The three "were kidnapped in the Rabuni camp", a ministry spokesperson said, referring to the camp near Tindouf, mainly inhabited by Sahrawi refugees from Western Sahara, a Morocco-controlled territory that seeks greater autonomy.

Italy's foreign office in a statement identified the woman as Rossella Urru, who works for the Italian Committee for the Development of Peoples (CISP).

"The Foreign Ministry, in concordance with the Italian Embassy in Algeria, has immediately activated all channels useful in arriving at a positive outcome and is in contact with the relatives and with the CISP," the statement said.

A former Spanish colony, Western Sahara was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Western Sahara's Polisario Front independence movement, backed by Algeria, wants a referendum under the aegis of the United Nations on attachment to Morocco, independence or self-determination.

Morocco has proposed broad autonomy under its sovereignty and refuses to countenance any notion of independence, claiming that the Western Sahara is an historical part of its territory.