Well, if you thought the era of coups was gone, think again. The Mauritanian army has ousted the country’s president, Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, in a bloodless coup. The army has cited the president’s overtures to Islamic fundamentalists and his recent sacking of four of the country’s top military commanders as the reason for his ouster. The president has apparently been getting too close to Islamic fundamentalists and supposedly planned to build a mosque within the presidential compounds.
He and his wife have also been accused of corruption. Earlier in the year the president narrowly avoided a vote of no confidence in the nation’s parliament. The EU has threatened to withhold aid the Mauritanian if the president and his prime minister – both detained by the coup leaders – are not reinstated soon.
The leader of the coup, Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, has instituted a state council in place of the presidency. It is unclear how long he plans to rule the country.
Mauritania, a former French colony, is a vast country in West Africa with a population of 3.4 million. It is predominantly Arab and is a member of the Arab league. The country has large deposits of iron ore and in 2006 struck oil, making it one of Africa’s newest oil producers.