In Mauritania, President Moustapha Ould Saleck has dismissed his government and announced a new supreme military committee to rule the country under his leadership.
In Mauritania, President Moustapha Ould Saleck has dismissed his government and announced a new supreme military committee to rule the country under his leadership. Officials say it will be known as the Military Committee of National Salvation. On Friday (6 April) -- when the changes were made -- a military communique accused the former government of too soon sharing power with what it termed "worn-out politicians and young idealists".
SYNOPSIS: In the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott, troops guarded the National Assembly building on Thursday (5 April) -- the day before the shuffle was announced. President saleck, who was addressing the National Assembly, made no mention of the radical changes that were to come. But that night, he imposed a curfew throughout the capital and army units were seen in several areas. But the city remained calm.
The new military committee is expected to pursue firmer and more austere policies. The shake-up will also strengthen the position of President Saleck and give wider powers to the army, which is faced with a stalemate over the conflict in the Western Sahara.
President Saleck seized power in a coup in July last year. His new Prime Minister is Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Ould Bousseif -- a former army chief of staff who is pro-Moroccan. Several members of the ruling military committee are hostile to the Polisario -- the Algerian-backed guerrilla force which is challenging Morocco and Mauritania for control of the Western Sahara.