Army Seizes Power in Mauritania

African nation's first democratically elected president captive
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2008 9:38 AM CDT
Army Seizes Power in Mauritania
Members of the military seized control in Mauritania today.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Soldiers in the West African nation of Mauritania mounted a coup d'etat today, arresting the president and prime minister and shutting down state radio and television, the Guardian reports. Troops entered the capital and apprehended Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, the country’s first democratically elected president, after he began taking steps to remove generals accused of provoking political crisis.

"The president has just been arrested by a commando, who came to fetch him, arrested him here and took him away," said the daughter of Abdallahi, who was taken prisoner along with Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed Waghf. "This is a real coup d'etat." (Read more Mauritania stories.)

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