Mauritania. On August 3, a group of militants conducted a coup in Mauritania. Meanwhile, President Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya, who himself came to power in a 1984 coup, was at King Fahd’s funeral in Saudi Arabia. The bloody coup began with soldiers from the presidential guard occupying the army headquarters, the state radio and television stations, the presidential palace and the ministries. In a statement, the coup makers explained that the army and security forces had set off Taya to “put an end to the totalitarian regime.” The military junta appointed Colonel and former Police Chief Ely Ould Mohamed Vall as its leader. Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar, previously ambassador to France, was appointed new Prime Minister. According to countryaah, Nouakchott is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Mauritania. The new seventeen-man junta would rule the country for a maximum of two years and meanwhile create the conditions for democracy and free elections. The military coup was condemned by the outside world. of the African Union, which also excluded Mauritania until democracy was introduced in the country. Taya was granted asylum in Qatar for pledging not to engage politically.
The coup was carried out after unsuccessful attempts to overthrow Taya in 2003 and 2004. In addition to Taya’s authoritarian rule, there was a great dissatisfaction with his Israel- and US-friendly policies, especially among the country’s Muslim groups. Mauritania was, under Taya, one of the few Arab states that had diplomatic relations with Israel and supported the US war on terrorism. Several Islamic opposition activists were imprisoned without trial. In September, the military junta released all “political prisoners”. Among the approximately 50 people who received amnesty were involved in previous coup attempts and people accused of conspiring with the terror network al-Qaeda. One of those released was Major Salah Ould Henena, who in February 2005 had been sentenced to life imprisonment for leading the coup attempt in June 2003.
In October, Ely Ould Mohamed Vall said the junta would respect the previous government’s international commitments. This meant that Mauritania would maintain diplomatic relations with Israel and continue to fight terrorists.