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Military Declares New Government in Mauritania

By VOA News

06 August 2008

Reports from Mauritania say the military has staged an apparent bloodless coup, detaining President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi and taking control of the government.

A statement broadcast on state radio Wednesday indicated the government was now being run by a "state council" led by former presidential guard chief Mohamed Ould Aziz.

The president's daughter Amal Mint Cheikh Abdallahi told reporters that the army surrounded the presidential palace and other key buildings in the capital Nouakchott earlier Wednesday.

Government sources say soldiers also detained Prime minister Yahya Ould Ahmed Waghf. The country's state-run radio and television stations have also been shut down.

The president's daughter and other witnesses report no shots have been fired.

The coup came shortly after the president announced earlier today his intention to replace several top army generals.

Mauritania had been facing a political crisis in recent weeks. Last month, Prime Minister Waghf and his government resigned rather than face a no-confidence vote within the ruling party. Mr. Waghf was later reappointed by the president.

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