The Mauritanian military staged a coup on Wednesday in the capital of Nouakchott, arresting President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi and Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed Waghf, reports from agencies reaching Dakar said.
The reports said the Mauritanian interior minister was also arrested by the military.
State radio and television have been closed. Al Jazeera reported that the military has surrounded the state television building in the capital.
The coup came as the president fired several top army officers.
Mauritania's President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi (L) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, near Tokyo May 29, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Mauritania has been in a deep political crisis. The government stepped down last month amid a proposed no confidence vote.
Abdallahi became president last year after winning elections.
No violence has been reported so far. Source: Xinhua