PM and top gov’t officials released from captivity, President still in custody

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Almost a week after their captivity in the highly criticised coup d’etat, four of Mauritania’s high-ranking government officials have been released.

Those released, according to a statement from the leaders of the coup known as the “State Council”, have been named as Prime Minister Yahia Ould Ahmed El-Ouakef and three other allies of President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.

The so called State Council did not make any mention of the President, Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, who has also been held in custody since last Wednesday, despite calls for his release from the international community.

Meanwhile, Seven Mauritania MPs have disagreed with the Speaker of the country’s Parliament, Messaoud Ould Belkheir, who strongly condemned the 6 August military coup in the West African nation.

In a statement, the MPs said Belkheir’s declaration was his personal opinion, rather than that of the parliamentarians of the lower chamber, majority of whom, they claimed, support the coup.

On Sunday afternoon, the Speaker said the only legitimate president was Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, the democratically-elected leader who was overthrown by his former Chief of Staff.

He ruled out any collaboration with the military State Council formed by 11 senior officers who have been in charge of the country since the coup. The Speaker said the new leaders were acting in breach of the country’s constitution.

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