Morocco officially restarts compulsory military service

Moroccans aged between 19 and 25 will serve for one year in the armed forces, some 12 years after conscription was abolished. (AP Photo)
Updated 08 February 2019

Morocco officially restarts compulsory military service

  • Draft dodgers face penalties ranging from one month to a year in prison, but exemptions will be made for those who do not meet physical standards and for university students
  • Moroccans are divided over the return of military service — some view it as gainful employment for youths left behind by development, others as a tool to blunt protest movements

RABAT: Morocco on Thursday officially restored compulsory military service, despite complaints from some young people in the North African country.
King Mohammed VI gave “instructions that 10,000 conscripts be called to military service in the current year, before bringing this figure to 15,000 in the next year,” a cabinet statement carried by the MAP agency said.
Moroccans aged between 19 and 25 look set to be called up for one year, according to the legislation that was unveiled in August, some 12 years after conscription was abolished.
The first conscripts will be enrolled in Autumn 2019, government spokesman Mustapha Khalfi said.
Draft dodgers face penalties ranging from one month to a year in prison, but exemptions will be made for those who do not meet physical standards and for university students.
Military service will be optional for women and dual nationals.
Conscripts will be paid between 1,050 dirhams (€96) and 2,000 dirhams (€185) net per month, according to Khalfi.
Moroccans are divided over the return of military service — some view it as gainful employment for youths left behind by development, others as a tool to blunt protest movements.
The palace said its goal is to improve “integration in professional and social life” for young people and boost their sense of citizenship.


Woman charged in London with planning to bomb St. Paul’s cathedral

Updated 59 min 57 sec ago

Woman charged in London with planning to bomb St. Paul’s cathedral

  • Safiyya Amira Shaikh, 36, was remanded in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to appear again at the Old Bailey court on Nov. 1
  • Shaikh was charged with preparing terrorist acts between August and October this year including making contact with someone she believed could help her make explosives

LONDON: A woman appeared in court on Wednesday charged with terrorism offenses including scoping out St. Paul’s cathedral as a possible bomb target.
Safiyya Amira Shaikh, 36, was remanded in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to appear again at the Old Bailey court on Nov. 1, police said.
Shaikh, of Hayes, west London, was charged with preparing terrorist acts between August and October this year including making contact with someone she believed could help her make explosives.
The preparations also included traveling to London and staying at a hotel to conduct reconnaissance, police added in a statement.
The statement of charges said she “noted the hotel’s suitability as a target for a bomb (and) attended St. Paul’s to scope it, for security and for the best place to plant a second bomb.”
She is also charged with preparing the words of a pledge of allegiance to Daesh.