Mauritania not fighting Al-Qaeda, but local terrorism: president

21:56, August 05, 2010      

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Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz says his country is not fighting Al-Qaeda, but facing a local form of terrorism based in the Sahel region of the African continent.

This local terrorism has invaded several times into the territory of Mauritania, the president told a press conference on Wednesday night, adding that the Public Treasury has allocated 50 million U. S. dollars for equipment and the modernization of the armed forces.

"We have used 60 percent of the funds and we have put in place a service of special units for the anti-terrorist fight," he declared.

In reference to a joint military raid on terrorists last month by Mauritanian and French forces, the president said all those killed were not important members of the group.

The Mauritanian and French commandos launched the attack on the North African wing of Al-Qaeda (AQMI) in the northern part of Mali to rescue the French hostage Michel Germaneuaa, killing six AQMI members, but failing to find the hostage.

After the military action, AQMI announced the killing of the 78- year-old hostage in retaliation. France immediately declared war with Al-Qaeda, vowing to reinforce the anti-terror cooperation with governments in northwest Africa including Mauritania, Mali, Algeria and Niger.

The Mauritanian president told reporters that his country has been since engaged against the terrorists based in the desert "in the north of a neighboring country."

"We act against these terrorists, sometimes with the technical and logistical support and information from certain friendly countries also ready to combat terrorism," Aziz said.

But he made it clear that no French or foreign military base is hosted in Mauritania. He also ruled out any terrorist group holed up in the territory of his country, although 31 Mauritanian soldiers were killed in terror attacks between 2005 and 2009.

Source: Xinhua


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