Mauritanian army shots president ‘by mistake’

Mauritanian army shots president ‘by mistake’

NOUAKCHOTT - Agence France-Presse
Mauritanian army shots president ‘by mistake’

Mauritania’s President Abdel Aziz has been reportedly shot by an army unit. Opposition lawmakers want a transition government to take over from him. REUTERS photo

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was shot and “slightly wounded” on Oct. 13 when an army unit accidentally fired on his convoy, the government said.

Abdel Aziz is being treated in the capital Nouakchott, Communications Minister Hamdi Ould Mahjoub said. “This was an accidental shooting on the presidential convoy. The army unit did not recognize the presidential convoy,” Mahjoub said on national television.

Flies to Paris

A security source said Abdel Aziz would be flown yesterday to Paris for medical treatment after being shot. Mauritanian president appeared on television from his hospital bed yesterday, shortly before he was flown to Paris.

“I want to reassure the citizens of Mauritania that the operation I underwent yesterday (Saturday) evening was a success,” he said. Meanwhile, a military source said that Abdel Aziz was hit in the arm by a bullet that an unknown gunman fired at him as he was driving from his weekend retreat in nearby Tweila. The gunman in a car “directly targeted” the head of state, he added, without giving any indications as to the identity of the attacker or the motive.