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|Mauritania calm after military coup
Fri Aug 05, 2005 3:24 pm
Mauritania’s capital was calm on Thursday as the country waited for announcements from a group of officers who said they had seized power to end more than two decades of “totalitarian” rule by the president.
Triumphant crowds cheered a statement broadcast on state media on Wednesday that President Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya had been overthrown in an apparently bloodless coup, the latest in a series of attempts to oust him in recent years.
U.S. deployed 2000 troops to oil rich Mauritania in June
Noukchott, 10 June (AKI) - Following the recent slaying of 17 government soldiers in a terrorist attack on a military base in northern Mauritania, the United States has sent a contingent of 2,000 soldiers, as well as helicopters, to the area, the United Arab Emirates daily 'Al-Kalheej' reported on Friday. The US troops will use military bases set up in the desert in Mauritania and Mali three years ago as part of the war on terror.
The US battalion's mission is to help Mauritanian troops patrol the country's northern border with Algeria, where militants from the Algerian extremist formation, the Salafite Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), have been entering the country. The GSPC claimed responsibility for last Saturday's deadly attack on the remote military base, although the Mauritanian authorities maintain the attack, in which 17 soldiers were killed, was the work of Mauritanian and Mali extremists, linked to a few GSPC and smugglers operating along the borders between Algeria, Mali and Mauritania.
Analaysts say the GSPC took responsiblity for carrying out the attacks on the detachment of the Mauritanian army in an attempt to get back in favour with al-Qaeda, which the analysts allege has lately been distancing itself from the GSPC, due to the high number of defections in its ranks.
The stand-off between the GSPC and al-Qaeda is said to have begun April when Tunisian police arrested ten alleged terrorists heading to the Algerian mountains to join guerilla training camps. The ten were reportedly preparing a major attack against the capital Tunis, but Tunisian police managed to uncover the cell as a result of informants within the Algerian Salafite group.