Reporter risks life to reveal Western Sahara abuse

A Channel 4 reporter braved landmines and hostile government troops in his journey to reveal allegations of torture and human rights abuses in Western Sahara.

As part of the Unreported World series, Khalid Khazziha, a former APTN cameraman, reports on the plight of nomadic people stranded for 30 years in the desert after fighting for independence from Morocco.

"With daily news, if it bleeds it leads as they say. So if there’s nobody bleeding there on a daily basis, like in Iraq or Afghanistan, Western Sahara remains unreported even though there are more than 150,000 refugees living in camps in the middle of the Sahara."

Morocco took control of Western Sahara in 1975 and constructed a wall, which at 2,500km is longer than the Great Wall of China, separating the occupied Moroccan area of the Sahara and the so-called Liberated Zone.

The area to the north of the border is littered with landmines. Khazziha, who has worked extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq, had a close encounter while walking through one of the most heavily mined areas in the world.

"As I was getting ready to do my piece to camera in front of the wall, I looked to my right and I was standing centimetres away from an anti-personnel mine."

Khazziha then travelled to the Moroccan side of the border where he discovered evidence of secret prisons, torture and abuse.

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