A Moroccan tank which was downed by the Polisario Front during their battles with Morocco's army is seen in Tifariti, Western Sahara, September 9, 2016. REUTERS/ Zohra Bensemra
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At a rocky outpost in Western Sahara, a new generation of soldiers who have never known war are mobilizing as tensions resurface in one of Africa's oldest disputes after a quarter century of uneasy peace. Young Sahrawi troops man new desert posts for the Polisario Front, which for more than 40 years has sought independence for the vast desert region – first in a guerrilla war against Morocco and then politically since a cease-fire deal in 1991 .With U.N. peacekeepers separating the troops there, this may not escalate into open conflict.Morocco claimed the territory and fought the 16-year war with Polisario that established its self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.Zigzagging for almost 3,000 km through Western Sahara, it divides areas controlled by Morocco from those controlled by Polisario.U.N. troops had to step in after Moroccan gendarmerie crossed the wall into a buffer zone and Polisario responded.Polisario says it is ready to talk but the timing is complicated.On top of this, Morocco says the U.N. envoy to Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, cannot visit Rabat until a new government has been formed following elections in September and it has hosted a U.N. climate change conference this month.
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