TIFARITI, Western Sahara — Ghalla Sid Ahmed and her mother eke out a living in this isolated desert settlement, subsisting on five goats and a war pension. For 40 years they have lived in exile, barred from their land by a heavily patrolled sand berm that runs like a scar for 1,600 miles through this remote corner of the Sahara.
They are the forgotten victims of one of the world’s last conflicts left over from the Cold War. There has been no fighting here for 24 years, since a United Nations-monitored cease-fire between Morocco and the Polisario Front, an anticolonial resistance movement that sought independence.
But there has been no peace, either, despite unfulfilled promises of a referendum to settle the status of the Western Sahara. Today, as change and conflict encroach from the wider region, the people here are once again agitating for a solution, warning of the resumption of war, as patience runs out.
“We like it here,” said Ms. Ahmed, 51, gesturing at their homestead and the desert beyond, “but it is very hard without independence and the rest of our lands.”
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