The President of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was “slightly” wounded after being shot Saturday night near Nouakchott, said the government, explaining he was “shot by mistake by the army.” Meanwhile a security source said an man armed was “directly involved”.
The Mauritanian leader was evacuated to Paris, “for further treatment in a specialized hospital,” said a security source. According to press sources, “a first operation was carried out at the military hospital in Nouakchott to remove the bullet from his body.” The report did not indicate the affected part and the possible consequences.
“This was a shot by mistake against the president’s motorcade, the military unit (who fired) did not know it was (his) convoy, “said Communications Minister Hamdi Ould Mahjoub. “The Mauritanian people can be calm, the President is well, he was treated at the National Hospital (…). He was slightly wounded, he walked by himself from the car upon arrival at the hospital where he worked without difficulties,” the minister said.
But a security official said on condition of anonymity that the shooting was directed against Mr. Ould Abdel Aziz. The president was “slightly wounded in the arm by a bullet fired against him by a motorist who was directly targeting him while he was heading to Tweila, about 40 km north of Nouakchott, the source said. According to him, Mr. Ould Abdel Aziz went to the North, “where he goes almost every weekend” for vacation. He gave no indication of the attacker’s motivations, and did not say if the president was not alone in his car during the incident.
Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz came to power by in a coup on August 5, 2008, and elected in a presidential election carried out in July 2009. He was sworn in as Head of State on August 5, 2009. He urged his army to fight against Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which operates in the Sahel, particularly in Mauritania and neighboring Mali, committing attacks, kidnappings, mostly of Western nationals and various trades.
In 2011, AQIM threatened to kill him, accusing him of waging a “proxy war against the Mujahideen on behalf of France.”