Africa

Morocco military helicopter crash near Tichla in Western Sahara kills two

A Moroccan military helicopter crashed on Friday, April 26 in the disputed Western Sahara, killing two crew members, state news agency MAP reported.

“A pilot officer and a mechanic non-commissioned officer” were killed, and one other person on board was lightly injured in the crash, a military source told MAP.

The source said that a “technical investigation” had been launched to determine the cause of the crash near the settlement of Tichla, which is around 30 km (19 miles) from the border with Mauritania.

It is unclear what type of helicopter crashed.

The incident comes months after a Royal Moroccan Air Force Mirage F1 fighter jet crashed in the northern Taounate region in January. The pilot ejected safely.

Morocco maintains a heavy military presence in the area of Western Sahara it controls. It considers the former Spanish colony an integral part of its territory.

The Polisario Front, which campaigns for the territory’s independence, demands a referendum on self-determination.

The Polisario Front and Morocco fought a war over the region from 1975 to 1991, when a ceasefire deal was agreed and a U.N. peace mission deployed to monitor the truce.


With reporting from AFP

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