Seven killed after soccer match in Western Sahara

Seven people, including two policemen, were killed in fighting that broke out after a weekend football match in Dakhla, a Western Sahara port city, Morocco's state MAP news agency said Tuesday.

The previous reported toll from Sunday's violence was two.

After the match, fighting broke out between rival supporters, causing "seven deaths, including two among the forces of law and order, and about 20 injured," MAP reported, citing authorities in the province of Dakhla.

"Just after the match when the supporters were leaving the stadium, there was an exchange of stone-throwing among youths," according to the same source.

A journalist in the region told AFP the incidents "degenerated into fighting in the streets among the supporters, while Sahrawi activists joined in."

Sahrawi activists seek the independence of the Western Sahara, which lies south of Morocco and was annexed and settled by Moroccan forces after Spanish settlers pulled out in 1975. Morocco considers the Western Sahara an integral part of its territory, and has proposed a referendum on self-determination, but no sovereignty.

Moroccan Interior Minister Taieb Cherkaoui on Monday night left for Dakhla and ordered the opening of a judicial inquiry to determine who was responsible for the violence.

A witness said the clashes broke out after "a group of supporters assaulted a Sahrawi", adding the situation "degenerated rapidly." There was also fighting on Monday night, added the witness, who asked not to be named.

"Eight vehicles and commercial establishments were also set on fire during these actions. The security situation is under control and an inquiry by police detectives is under way to arrest people involved in these actions in order to bring them to trial," the statement from Dakhla authorities said.

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