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Mauritanian activists arrested over massacre protest: rights groups

Nouakchott - Five family members seeking justice for black Mauritanian soldiers executed in 1990 were in custody Thursday for protesting at an independence day celebration, rights groups said.

Mauritania's controversial new flag flies for first time

Nouakchott - A new national flag for Mauritania flew for the first time on Tuesday, the country's independence day, following a contested constitutional referendum that prompted a senator's arrest and hunger strike.

For Malians in Mauritanian desert, going home is a mirage

Nouakchott - It is hardly the most inviting place to call home -- a sprawling tent city in a sea of reddish sand in southeastern Mauritania.

Mauritania votes to abolish Senate by referendum

Nouakchott - Mauritanians have voted to abolish their Senate and alter their national flag by referendum, the electoral commission announced Sunday, in a clear victory for President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz the day after the vote.While turnout was 53.

Mauritania votes on constitution after tense campaign

Nouakchott - Mauritanians began voting Saturday on several contentious changes to their constitution sought by President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz but opposed by a wide swathe of opposition lawmakers and civil society groups.

Mauritanian party complains of 'unequal' referendum campaign

Nouakchott - The sole Mauritanian political party urging citizens to vote "No" in a controversial referendum on abolishing the Senate complained Wednesday their ability to campaign had been severely restricted.

Three jihadist groups in Africa's Sahel announce merger

Nouakchott - Three jihadist groups operating in the Sahel region have merged to form one single organisation, Mauritania's private news agency ANI said Thursday, citing a video distributed by the Islamists.

Prosecutors request 20 years for Mauritanian anti-slavery activists

Nouakchott - Prosecutors at a Mauritanian appeal court have requested 13 anti-slavery activists have their sentences increased to 20 years each for protesting against a forced slum clearance, a judicial source said.

Malian jihadist group denies 'ceasefire' claim

Nouakchott - The Malian jihadist group Ansar Dine has denied agreeing to a ceasefire with the government, a Mauritanian news agency and extremist monitoring group said Tuesday.

Romanian held by Qaeda affiliate demands release

Nouakchott - A Romanian mineworker kidnapped by an Al-Qaeda affiliate last year has appeared in a video urging his government to secure his release as soon as possible.

Freed 'Guantanamo Diary' author forgives US jailers

Nouakchott - A former Guantanamo Bay detainee from Mauritania who wrote a best-selling book about his experiences said Saturday he forgives those who tortured and detained him without trial for 14 years.

13 anti-slavery activists sentenced in Mauritania

Nouakchott - Thirteen anti-slavery activists in Mauritania were sentenced to between three and 15 years in prison, despite criticism of the case against them by international rights groups.

Thousands protest against axing of Mauritania senate

Nouakchott - Thousands of people gathered in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott to protest against a move by President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to abolish the senate.

Thousands demand justice for ex-slaves in Mauritania

Nouakchott - Thousands of people have marched for the rights of former slaves in Mauritania and to denounce injustice against them in the west African nation where slavery persists despite being officially abolished decades ago.

Jihadists claim kidnap of Swiss woman in Mali: Report

Nouakchott - Private Mauritanian news agency Al-Akhbar said Tuesday that it had received a video purportedly from the Al-Qaeda-linked Emirate of the Sahara group claiming responsibility for this month's kidnapping of Swiss woman Beatrice Stockly in northern Mali.

Escaped Al-Qaeda death row prisoner held in Guinea

Nouakchott - A Mauritanian Al-Qaeda jihadist, on death row until his escape on New Year's Eve, was re-arrested on Tuesday night after crossing the Guinea-Bissau border into Guinea, security sources said Wednesday.

Mauritania's tough anti-slavery laws face tougher resistance

Nouakchott - Mauritania became the last country to abolish slavery 34 years ago, but despite ever harsher laws which now declare the practice a crime against humanity, a deeply ingrained resistance has made the shackles hard to break.

AQIM Islamists claim two attacks against UN in Mali: Mauritanian agency

Nouakchott - Al-Qaeda's North Africa arm has claimed responsibility for two attacks against the United Nation's MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in Mali this week, the Mauritanian Al-Akhbar news agency reported.

Belmokhtar's jihadist group in N.Africa vows allegiance to IS

Nouakchott - The jihadist group of notorious one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State organisation, according to an audio recording broadcasted by private Mauritanian agency Al-Akhbar.

Mauritania jails senior Al-Qaeda figure

Nouakchott - A senior Al-Qaeda leader accused of planning attacks on the United States, Europe and Australia has been jailed for 20 years in Mauritania for "terrorist activities", a judicial source said on Tuesday.
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