In Mauritania, President Moustapha Ould Saleck has dismissed his government and announced a new supreme military committee to rule the country under his leadership.
GV Armed troops outside National Assembly Building in Nouakchott
CU President Moustapha Ould Saleck addressing National Assembly
SV Members of National Assembly listening of speech
CU President Saleck speaking
SV Members listening and applauding (2 shots)
SV Troops escorting President to his car
SV Members leave Assembly building as car departs
GV Government building with soldiers on guard at entrance
CU New Prime Minister Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Ould Bousseif seated at his office desk (2 shots)
Spain ceded the Western Sahara to Morocco and Mauritania in 1976 and the two countries divided it between themselves. When President Saleck seized power last year he criticised his predecessor -- Moktar Ould Daddah -- for failing to settle the conflict with the Polisario. Shortly after this, the guerrillas suspended hostilities on the Mauritanian Front. But talks with the Polisario have made little progress, and the guerrillas recently threatened to resume the war against Mauritania.
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Background: 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.