Nigerian President sends strong warning to Mauritanian Army Chief Mohamed Ould Mohamed for coup

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The democratically-elected government of Mauritania has been toppled in a coup, according to the state media.

An announcement on state television Wednesday said the Head of the country’s presidential guard, Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, would lead a new ‘state council’, without giving further details before the television and radio stations went off the air.

President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, who was elected in 2007, has been taken to an unknown destination by the soldiers, while the Prime Minister, Yahya Ould Ahmed Waqef, has also been arrested.

Though there are soldiers all over the capital city of Nouackchott, indications so far are that the coup was bloodless.

A vote of no confidence in the government had caused a recent cabinet reshuffle in the country, which has witnessed about a dozen military coups since its independence in 1960.

Earlier Wednesday, President Abdallahi fired four top military officials, including Army Chief of Staff Mohamed Ould Mohamed, without giving any reasons for his action.

The just-ousted elected government came to power following elections organised by the military, which took power in the country in 2005.

Meanwhile Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar’Adua has condemned the military coup in the West African nation of Mauritania and said his country would not recognise the military government, which toppled the democratically-elected government.

”Our sub-region has made great advances in terms of peace and security and sustenance of democracy at great cost to our peoples that we cannot afford the hand of the clock to be turned back again,” he said while receiving West African defence chiefs attending a two-day meeting in the capital city of Abuja.

He also said the African Union (AU) Constitutive Act states that the union would not recognise any government that does not come into office through constitutional means, saying this was to ensure that the issues of instability and insecurity that have dogged the continent were taken for granted so the continent could tackle the problems of development.

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