Mauritania’s President Shot By His Own Army

President of Mauritanian, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was shot and “slightly wounded” on Saturday when an army unit of his country accidentally fired on his convoy, officials said.

Abdel Aziz is being treated at a military hospital in the capital Nouakchott, according to a security source and Communications Minister Hamdi Ould Mahjoub.

“This was an accidental shooting on the presidential convoy as it returned to Nouakchott. The army unit did not recognize the presidential convoy,” Mahjoub said on national television.

“The Mauritanian people can be reassured, the president is fine… He was slightly wounded, and he got out of the vehicle unassisted upon arrival at the hospital, where he walked in without difficulty.”

A security source had earlier told AFP that Abdel Aziz was hit in the arm by a bullet that a motorist fired at him as he was driving north out of the capital to his weekend retreat in nearby Tweila.

The president’s “life is not in danger, he got out and walked to a military hospital where he received first aid,” the source said.

The hospital was placed under high surveillance by the presidential guard.

Opposition lawmakers accuse the former general of despotism and mismanagement and having failed to heed commitments made in the Dakar accords that led to his election in 2009, a year after he seized power in a coup d’etat.

The opposition wants a transition government to take over from Abdel Aziz and find a way out of the crisis, dealing with issues such as unemployment, slavery and attacks on human rights, but they may have to wait a little longer as Abdel Aziz’s mandate expires in 2014.

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