Bir Lehlou (also transliterated Bir Lahlou, Bir Lehlu Arabic: بير لحلو; Berber: Bir Leḥlu, ⴱⵉⵔ ⵍⴻⵃⵍⵓ) is an oasis town in north-eastern Western Sahara, 236 km from Smara, near the Mauritanian border and east of the border wall, in Polisario Front-held territory. It has a dispensary, a school and a mosque. It is the head of the 5th military region of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and was the factual temporary capital of SADR until Tifariti became the temporary capital in 2008. It is also the name of a Daïra of the Wilaya of Smara, in the Sahrawi refugee camps.

Bir Lehlou

بير لحلو

Bir Leḥlu - ⴱⵉⵔ ⵍⴻⵃⵍⵓ
Municipality and town
Inauguration of the school "José Ramón Diego Aguirre" in Bir Lehlou, May 20, 2005
Inauguration of the school "José Ramón Diego Aguirre" in Bir Lehlou, May 20, 2005
Bir Lehlou is located in Western Sahara
Bir Lehlou
Bir Lehlou
Location in Western Sahara
Coordinates: 26°20′58″N 09°34′32″W / 26.34944°N 9.57556°W / 26.34944; -9.57556Coordinates: 26°20′58″N 09°34′32″W / 26.34944°N 9.57556°W / 26.34944; -9.57556
TerritoryWestern Sahara
Claimed byMorocco Kingdom of Morocco
 Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
Controlled bySahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
 • TypeMunicipality[1]
 • MayorAbeid Moulud[2]
475 m (1,558 ft)

The name "Bir Lehlou" is transcribed from Maghrebi Arabic, and means "the sweet water well". The Modern Standard Arabic transcription would be "bir al Halou" (بئر الحلو)


The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic with an exiled government seated earlier in Tindouf, Algeria, administered Bir Lehlou as the temporary capital of the SADR, as long as the Sahrawi capital of El-Aaiun is under Moroccan control. For example, it had been the scenario of reunions of SADR's National Secretariat.[3] This is also from where the republic's existence was proclaimed over radio on the night of February 27, 1976, by its first president, El-Ouali Mustapha Sayed. Some sources list also Bir Lehlou as El-Ouali's birthplace.[4]

Gas station in Bir Lehlou. August 14, 2011.

Since late 1975, Radio Nacional de la Republica Árabe Saharaui Democrática (National Radio of the SADR) had broadcast from there on both medium and short wave, webcasting the programming in Hassaniya Arabic, and also some hours in Spanish.[5]

On May 20, 2005, coinciding with the 32nd anniversary of the beginning of the armed struggle of the Polisario Front, a primary school was inaugurated in Bir Lehlou. The school was named "José Ramón Diego Aguirre" (Spanish colonel and historian, first foreigner to be awarded with the Sahrawi honorific nationality) in his honour.[6]

On February 27, 2010, Bir Lehlou hosted the 34th anniversary of the proclamation of the SADR, with the presence of several African and South American ambassadors.[7]

On October 12, 2011, during the 36th National Unity Day celebrations, the commander of the Sahrawi 5th military region, Hama Salama, inaugurated an extension of the town's school, as well as a mosque.[8]

International relationsEdit

Twin towns and sister citiesEdit

Bir Lehlou is twinned with:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Allocating seats for the liberated territories in Parliament will be considered in the next election (Official)". Sahara Press Service. 2012-02-20. Archived from the original on 2014-09-12. Retrieved 02-07-2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ Tolosa renueva su hermanamiento con el municipio saharaui de Bir Lehlu Noticias de Gipuzkoa, 8 January 2011 (in Spanish)
  3. ^ "The National Secretariat calls UN to compel Morocco to conform to the international legality". SPS. 03-05-2005. Archived from the original on 2009-10-05. Retrieved 2010-09-22. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ Sahara : le retour du guerrier
  5. ^ "Radio Nacional de la R.A.S.D." Archived from the original on 2010-03-11. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  6. ^ "Polisario Front celebrates its 32nd anniversary in the liberated territories". SPS. 2005-05-19. Archived from the original on 2009-10-05. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  7. ^ "Diplomatic and political delegations participate in 34th anniversary festivities of SADR". SPS. 2010-02-27. Retrieved 2010-09-22.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Inauguradas instalaciones en Bir Lehlo en el marco de las celebraciones del 36 Aniversario de la Unidad Nacional" (in Spanish). SPS. 2011-10-17. Archived from the original on 2011-10-18. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
  9. ^ "Aytº de Artziniega (Álava)" (in Spanish). Euskal Fondoa. Archived from the original on 2014-10-19. Retrieved 2013-02-14.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Gemellaggi e Patti di Amicizia[permanent dead link] Regione Toscana - Consiglio Regionale, 27 March 2010 (in Italian)
  11. ^ Gemellaggio con la Tendopoli Bir Lehlu (in Italian)
  12. ^ "Signing twining agreement between Bir Lehlou and Algerian Municipality of El Ouadi". SPS. 31 March 2013. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  13. ^ Gemellaggi della città di Prato - Bir-Lehlu - Repubblica Araba Saharawi Democratica (in Italian)
  14. ^ Solidaridad a pie de duna El País, 9 December 1998 (in Spanish)
  15. ^ Tolosa organiza diversos actos por del 15º aniversario del hermanamiento con Bir-Lehlu, Noticias de Gipuzkoa, 8 May 2011 (in Spanish)
  16. ^ Historia - Hermanamientos Archived October 30, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, (in Spanish)
  17. ^ "Aytº de Valle de Trápaga (Bizkaia)" (in Spanish). Euskal Fondoa. Archived from the original on 2014-10-19. Retrieved 2013-02-14.

External linksEdit