RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Morocco's Interior Ministry says it has expelled 19 foreign journalists from the annexed territory of the Western Sahara for entering without permission.
In a statement carried by the state news agency, the ministry said 15 Spanish and four Norwegian journalists had travelled to the regional capital of Laayoune pretending to be tourists.
The Wednesday statement quoted local authorities saying the journalists were planning to meet with "separatist" elements to commemorate the second anniversary of deadly clashes between police and local inhabitants.
Morocco occupied and annexed the mineral-rich Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, in 1975 after the Spanish withdrew.
The Polisario Front declared independence in 1976 on behalf of the inhabitants, the nomadic Saharawi. The dispute is one of the world's longest unresolved conflicts.