Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Mauritania: What did happen to the President?

Mystery still surrounds what really did happen to the President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz when he was shot on the evening of 13 October while returning to Nouakchott after spending the weekend out of town.
The government's claim that it was an accident lacked credibility, not only because of its absurdity, but because the government versions were so varied and contradictory. In Mauritania Politics & Security – 30.10.12 we did, however, say that we were increasingly more inclined towards the 'accident' version, and we are now even more certain that this is true. The President was almost certainly shot by a military checkpoint guard or guards taken unawares by his passing.

Within hours of the incident, there were rumours that the President was having an affair and had been out of town for the weekend with a mistress. This version of events has been gathering pace, at least among those with knowledge of the President's private life and with access to what took place at and immediately after the accident. This explains why the Present was travelling ahead of his security detail and possibly why he was driving at such high speed.

We have also received information that other people travelling with him in his vehicle were killed in the shooting. Their identities have not been revealed. It is, however, strongly rumoured that one of those killed may have been his mistress. This would explain the early reports, subsequently denied, of bodies being taken to Nouakchott hospital. We have been told that at least two people may have been killed.

With the President's immediate circle trying to prevent leaks of such a scandal, it is hardly surprising that the official spokespersons kept tripping over themselves with one bizarre version of the accident after another. So, although the details of the story may have been pulled from a number of hats, it appears increasingly as if the fundamental substance of the 'accident' story may have been true.

For more news and expert analysis about Mauritania, please see Mauritania Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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