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W. Sahara Rebels Seek Help From African Union on Prisoners

The chief of the Polisario rebels in Western Sahara has asked the African Union for help securing the release of prisoners held by Morocco.

According to Algeria's APS news agency, Mohamed Abdelaziz, secretary-general of the Polisario Front, wrote to the current chairman of the African Union, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, asking him to intercede with Morocco.

Mr. Abdelaziz said it was unfair that Morocco was still holding the prisoners, even after the Polisario Front released hundreds of Moroccan soldiers this month.

The letter said Morocco was holding 37 political prisoners and 151 prisoners of war. It said that some 500 people were missing.

Rebels battled Moroccan troops over control of Western Sahara for 16 years, following the withdrawal of colonial power Spain. In 1991, the United Nations brokered a cease-fire to end fighting.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.