The latest news from the Western Sahara says that Polisario forces have been successful in their attack on Mahbes - the last town under Moroccan control in the north - west of the territory.
GV Newsmen arriving at Polisario village
MV Newsmen examining captured Moroccan documents (2 shots)
GV Polisario camp in desert newsmen arrive to examine captured weapons and transport : CAMERA PANS TO long line of captured trucks
CU Captured vehicles with newsmen examining them (2 shots)
MV CAMERA PAN along row of captured vehicles
GV Moroccan prisoners sitting in front of captured vehicles (2 shots)
CU Polisario soldier guarding prisoners
GV Prisoners in group on ground
MV Captured Moroccan truck flying Polisario flag
CU Prisoners, captured vehicles in background
GV Line of captured mortars
CU Tank CAMERA PANS UP TO show Polisario's on tank
GV Newsmen walking past lines of captured machine guns and other small arms
CU Row of captured mortars, field guns in background
CU Captured land mines PAN UP TO soldier walking past with artillery in background
GV Ammunition, small arms and magazines, and field telephones
MV Polisario showing off rocket launcher
MV AND CU of captured identification papers (2 shots)
GV Captured tank guns and other equipment
A front-page editorial published in 'The Daily News' in Dar Es Salaam today (24 October) says the decision by the U.S. to sell arms to Morocco for use in the Western Sahara could threaten the goodwill between the U.S. and many African states. The editorial said that the decision by the Carter Administration was "a grave defiance of the OAU (Organisation of African Unity) and the United Nations". It went on to say that "in addition, it is impossible to see how President Carter can profit from it."
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Background: The latest news from the Western Sahara says that Polisario forces have been successful in their attack on Mahbes - the last town under Moroccan control in the north - west of the territory. Yesterday the Polisario displayed some of the tanks, guns, and soldiers captured during the battle for Mahbes.
SYNOPSIS: Newsmen and cameramen from Algeria and international agencies were invited to visit the town of mahbes by the Polisario guerrillas. There they were shown captured Moroccan documents - documents abandoned, say the Polisario, by Moroccan soldiers.
Journalists and cameramen were also shown weapons and lorries captured from the Moroccans during the fighting for control of the Western Sahara town.
The Polisario also showed the journalists other equipment and supplies the Moroccans had left behind after the fighting.
Yesterday's (23 October) offer by the Carter Administration, to seel the Moroccans six OV - 10 armed reconnaissance planes and an undisclosed number of Cobra attack helicopters, was made in the hope that King Hassan of Morocco would use the new armaments as a bargaining tool for peace.
However many influential politicians in the U.S. have threatened to kill the sale. They say that Hassan would use the weapons to "prolong the war rather than shorten it."
The war itself started in 1976 when Spain pulled out of the Western Sahara and left it split between Morocco and Mauritania. Earlier this year Mauritania renounced its right to any of the territory in the former Spanish colony - and pulled its troops back to their pre-1976 lines. Morocco on the other hand, has stepped up its involvement in the area - despite the setbacks the Polisario guerrillas have been able to inflict.
The Polisario are supported by Algeria and with this help are able to keep up their relentless assaults on Moroccan positions. The Polisario say they are prepared to negotiate a settlement to the bitter struggle; however the Moroccan government remains steadfast in its refusal to deal with the guerrillas.
So far only limited attempts have been made to resolve the continuing conflict.