> His coffin, draped in the flag of a territory he dreamt would one day be free. Mohamed Abdelaziz spent more than three decades fighting for independence for the Western Sahara. The desert territory, rich in phosphates, is a former Spanish colony taken over by Morocco in 1975.
Abdelaziz became synonymous with the Polisario Front, the national liberation movement that battled both countries. And many of those mourning his death fought in a guerilla war against Morocco until a 1991 ceasefire. Since then, the Western Sahara has remained in limbo, awaiting a long promised referendum to determine its fate.
Based in Southern Algeria, Abdelaziz became the president of the self-declared Sahrawi Republic in 1976. But he never lived to see his dream come true. With his death, Morocco may be hoping the demand for self determination will peter out. But a younger generation of Sahrawis was already frustrated with the lack of progress before Abdelaziz's death.
They'll be hoping his successor will finally lead them to independence.