Four Norwegian activists and a Spanish journalist said Moroccan police expelled them on Wednesday from the territory of Western Sahara.

The Norwegians belong to Sandfast, an organization sympathetic to the Saharawis' struggle for independence from Morocco, which moved to annex the former Spanish colony in 1975.

They traveled to Laayoune, the administrative capital of Western Sahara, to investigate the situation in the territory, one of the group, Pal Henriksen, told Efe.

As soon as they arrived, however, they were intercepted by Moroccan police and forced to remain in a hotel until Wednesday morning, when they were bundled into a taxi bound for the Moroccan city of Agadir, Henriksen said.

Joining the Norwegians in the taxi was Spanish free-lance journalist Gines Soriano, who said he was accosted by plainclothes police shortly after arriving in Laayoune on a bus.

The cops took Soriano's passport and ordered him to get in the taxi.

Moroccan officials contacted by Efe declined to comment.

Thursday will be the second anniversary of an assault by Moroccan police and soldiers on a camp set up outside Laayoune by more than 12,000 Saharawis protesting Morocco's rule of the territory.

Rabat said the clashes left 13 dead, all but two of them members of the Moroccan security forces.

But according to the pro-independence Polisario Front, 19 Saharawis were killed and hundreds more wounded. EFE