Oct 13, 2012
Oct 13, 2012
Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz appeared on state television on Sunday, assuring his people he was not the subject of an assassination attempt and that he was only accidently shot by soldiers late on Saturday.
“I want to calm all citizens. The operation last night was a success thanks to the effectiveness of the medical team,” he said in a statement broadcast on the state-owned TVM station.
“I want to reassure everyone about my state of health after this incident committed by mistake by an army unit on an unpaved road near Touela. Thanks to God, I am doing well,” he said.
Hamdi Ould Mahjoub, the communication minister, earlier said Abdel Aziz was shot by “friendly” fire from his soldiers as he was driving from a trip to the capital, Nouakchott. The president was returning from a trip to the desert and the incident occurred 40 kilometers (24 miles) north of the capital.
Al Arabiya correspondent reported that the president’s guards surrounded the military hospital in the capital as doctors hurried to remove the bullets from his neck.
The official radio station said that the shooting at the president came by “mistake” from a military checkpoint.
Abdel Aziz, a military man, was sworn as the new president of the Saharan country after winning election in July 2009.
But in 2008, he became President of the High Council of State after toppling President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi in a military coup.
He resigned from that post in April 2009 to take part as a candidate in the July 2009 presidential election which he won.
Mauritania is facing mounting terrorist threats in the Sahel area which has become a safe haven for organized crime and terrorist networks.