Mauritania military forces stage coup

The head of Mauritania's presidential guards took over the president's palace and units of the army surrounded a key state building in the capital Nouakchott on Wednesday.

Mauritania military forces stage coup

 Presidential guardsmen seized Mauritanian President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi in a coup d'etat on Wednesday, the president's daughter Amal Mint Cheikh Abdallahi said.

A "State Council" led by Mauritania's former presidential guard chief said on Wednesday President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi was no longer president.

"Statement No. 1" from the council, which was broadcast by Gulf-based al-Arabiya television, annulled what it described as the "former president's" previous decree sacking several top military officers. State television was taken off air.

"The security agents of the BASEP (Presidential Security Battalion) came to our home around 9.20 (0920 GMT) and took away my father," she told Reuters.

Al Jazeera said that the presidential palace has been taken control by sacked commander of the Mauritanian presidential guards has taken.

Soldiers gathered at the presidential palace after Abdallahi replaced senior army officers earlier on Wednesday during a political crisis in the northwest African country that is one of the continent's newest oil producers. Abdallahi won elections last year and took over from a military junta that had ruled since it toppled President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya in a bloodless coup in 2005.

Largely desert Mauritania, a former French colony of more than 3 million people, straddles black and Arab Africa.

Abdallahi replaced one government in May following criticism over the government's response to soaring food prices.

But the new government resigned last month in the face of a proposed no-confidence vote. A new one was formed but without the opposition Union of Forces for Progress (UFP) and Islamist Tawassoul parties which had formed part of the previous government.

A French foreign ministry spokesman was reported by the AFP news agency as saying: "We are in contact with our embassy [in Mauritania] to obtain confirmation of the events that appear to be taking place in Nouakchott.

"Based on initial information, it seems that a group of generals are holding the prime minister."

Army units were reported to have surrounded a key state building in the capital.

Both Mauritanian television and radio went off air, with army units said to have surrounded Mauritanian television's main building.



Last Mod: 06 Ağustos 2008, 15:39
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