Soldiers Shoot Mauritania's President 'by Mistake'

Islamists, however, had vowed revenge against him
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2012 1:03 AM CDT
Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz recovers at the Ksar Military Hospital in Noukchott, Mauritania, yesterday, before being flown to France.   (AP Photo/Agence Mauritanienne de l'Information)

(Newser) – Soldiers in Mauritania have shot and wounded the nation's president, but he assures people the incident was all a mistake, Reuters reports. The government flew President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to France yesterday for medical treatment, where he issued a televised message: "I want to reassure everyone about my state of health after this incident committed by error," he said, a hospital bed sheet up to his neck. "Thanks to God, I am doing well."

The government said Abdel Aziz was only "lightly wounded," but medical sources said he was hit in the abdomen. Soldiers apparently opened fire on him as he drove through a town about 25 miles from the capital city of Nouakchott. Officials say the soldiers were Mauritanian, but Islamist groups that control much of neighboring Mali had vowed revenge against Abdel Aziz for military strikes he ordered in 2010 and 2011.

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