Western Sahara is recognised by the United Nations as the last non-self-governing territory in Africa. Between 1973 and 1991 it was at war, as the pro-independence Polisario Front fought first against colonial rulers Spain, and after 1975, against Morocco, which invaded with Spanish encouragement. In 1991, a United Nations-sponsored ceasefire was supposed to bring peace, based on a referendum on independence. However, the UN-promised referendum has never been held. Overt support from France, and more tacit support from the US, has enabled Morocco to have it indefinitely postponed.
Offshore oil drilling operations off Western Sahara, carried out by the US firm Kosmos Energy, were denounced by Western Sahara Resources Watch (WSRW) on March 2. “Kosmos Energy did nothing to obtain the consent of the people of Western Sahara,” said WSRW chair Erik Hagen. The Dallas-based company said its exploration well had not yielded a commercial find and would be plugged, Associated Press said on March 2.