Zug (Switzerland), 2 June 2020

Zoug in the Western Sahara

It is not easy to visit the village of Zoug in the Western Sahara. The ongoing conflict in Western Sahara is leading to political instability and unfortunately still makes it too dangerous to travel to the Polisario-controlled and mined area. The Swiss military is carrying out a peacekeeping mission in this region. I have been in contact with the person responsible for the mission to see if there might not be a way to get to Zoug after all.

Mirco Baumann, Head of Communications of SWISSINT of the Swiss Armed Forces informed me in October last year that none of the officers deployed had ever been to Zoug and could tell me about this place. In addition, he said that the mission task had already involved them in other areas. The Swiss military can therefore probably not help me any further in this matter.

DSC_6271Stefan Poth stands on Mauritanian soil, only about 50 kilometres away from Zoug in the Western Sahara.

But suddenly a new option has opened up: Stefan Poth, a friend of mine from Switzerland, travels again and again with his Land Rover through the most remote places of the world. This time Mauritania was on his itinerary. Since Zoug is located in the southernmost part of Western Sahara, not far from the border to Mauritania, I asked Stefan Poth to bring me something from the region. On January 28, 2020 Stefan Poth was as close to the village of Zoug as probably no one from Zug in Switzerland had been before him. Only about 50 kilometres lay between him and Zoug. For security reasons he was not allowed to come closer to the village. Exactly from this point he brought something home to me.

Google Maps 01This is how close Stefan Poth came to the village of Zoug.

IMG_8449On this parking lot in Zug (Switzerland) the handover of the goods brought along took place.

On 27 May 2020, the handover of the goods exported from Mauritania took place at a car park in Zug (Switzerland). Apart from a soil sample consisting of sand, gravel and stones, Stefan Poth brought me dried faeces of a camel and – as a special feature – a single rib of a dead camel. Thanks to these trouvailles and thanks to photos taken on site we can better imagine what it might look like in the region of Zoug in Western Sahara.

P1110111Collected soil sample including dried-out camel shit. In the background you can see the clock tower of the old town of Zug in Switzerland.

P1110113Stefan Poth brought this single camel rib to Zug (Switzerland).

BLICK: West-Sahara-Konflikt

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