Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit revealed to parliament on Tuesday the bitter reality of the children and women of Moroccan jihadists stranded in certain areas of tension in the Middle East.
The Committee on Foreign Affairs, National Defense, Islamic Affairs and Moroccans Residing Abroad has unveiled the content of the report of the temporary exploratory mission on the reality of what children and women of Moroccan jihadists endure. stranded in some areas of tension such as Syria and Iraq.
The temporary exploratory mission listened to several Moroccan officials, ministers, international organizations as well as testimonies from detainees and their families in order to draw a picture that reflects the reality of the situation in these areas of tension after the defeat of Daesh.
A defeat following which, it should be noted, the families of the “jihadists” were transferred to three camps, namely the “Al Haoul” camp, the “Al Raouj” camp and the “Ain Issa” camp, all located on the Syrian-Iraqi border under Kurdish control.
What happens to 1659 Moroccan jihadists?
Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit revealed, during a presentation he made to members of the temporary exploratory commission, that 1,659 Moroccan jihadists left Morocco to join various terrorist movements in the Syrian region. Iraqi.
According to data revealed for the first time by the Minister of the Interior, 290 women and 628 minors also visited the said regions.
Laftit, on the other hand, revealed the return to Morocco of 345 combatants who were tried in accordance with the provisions of the Penal Code which punish membership in terrorist groups.
According to official data first revealed by the Minister of the Interior, 290 women and 628 minors traveled to the affected regions, indicating the return of 345 combatants to Morocco, where they were tried under legislation. national law which punishes in all places with the requirements of the chapters of criminal law.
138 women and nearly 400 minors in detention
While a significant number of fighters and their relatives have been killed, there are now 250 fighters detained including 232 in Syria, 12 in Iraq and 6 in Turkey and 138 women detained including 134 in camps guarded by Kurdish forces, according to information available to the competent services.
There are around 400 minors in detention, 153 of whom were born in Morocco while the others were born either in these areas of tension or in certain European countries, according to the explanations of the Minister of the Interior Abdelouafi Laftit.
The government official stressed that the Moroccan authorities launched, in March 2019, an operation to repatriate a group of eight Moroccan citizens who were in conflict zones in Syria.
The latter have been the subject of judicial inquiries as a preventive measure concerning their possible involvement in activities linked to terrorism, he said.
The head of the Department of the Interior indicated that the constant deterioration of the security situation in the areas where these combatants are present “did not allow the continuation of repatriations, prompting the public authorities to think about other working methods which would allow the achievement of the desired objectives ”.
In this wake, he revealed that the services of the Ministry of the Interior are studying the return requests that they receive directly or through diplomatic channels, in particular those of people who manage to escape from places of detention or escape. to some neighboring countries.
The different approaches
Laftit underlined that each time the identification of the persons concerned as Moroccans is confirmed, “begins a work of coordination with the services of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans residing abroad, in order to issue the necessary documents for their return to the homeland ”. And this, “with the taking of the appropriate measures according to each returnee”.
For his part, Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, told the same committee that several approaches have emerged at the international level to deal with the return of combatants.
In this wake, he explained that the first approach is that of “states say they will take all their citizens (including terrorist fighters whose numbers are limited). This is the case for countries like Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kosovo.
These countries prefer, according to him, to keep these fighters in front of their eyes rather than leaving them lying around at the risk of joining other terrorist organizations.
The second approach is that of “States which prefer to limit repatriation to minors (eg Tunisia)”.
As for the third approach, it concerns countries “which repatriate their citizens on a case-by-case basis in order to facilitate the integration of those who do not present any danger (such as France, Norway and Denmark), according to the minister.
Bourita explained that “there are countries which have decided to withdraw their nationality (this is the case of the United States, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, the Netherlands and Australia).