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coup fails - everyone take a deep breath....

  1. Yak
    13,672 Posts.
    ...and read the article.

    Mauritania rebel leader killed as coup fails
    Sunday, June 8, 2003 Posted: 10:26 PM EDT (0226 GMT)



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    (CNN) -- Forces loyal to Mauritania's president killed a rebel leader who was attempting to stage a coup in the west African country and ended the mutiny, the editor-in-chief of an independent newspaper told CNN.

    Early Sunday, in violent street battles, government loyalist forces killed Col. Lamine Ouhd Ndeiane, the army chief who was leading the rebels, said Mohamed El Kouri of the newspaper Inimish al-Watan.

    Shortly after Ndeiane was killed, the coup attempt collapsed and rebel soldiers were arrested, El Kouri said.

    Eighty people died in the fighting, which began at 1:15 a.m. Sunday (9:15 p.m. Satvrday ET) and ended about 18 hours later, he said. About 50 of the dead were rebels, 12 were loyalists, and the rest were civilians, he said.

    After the rebels were defeated President Maaouiya Ould Taya returned to the presidential palace and appointed a new army chief, Col. Eli Mohammed Vall, who was the director of the national police, El Kouri said.

    He said all was calm in the capital early Sunday.

    The coup attempt began when rebel troops attacked the presidential palace with intense gunfire and tank shells.

    The rebels used tanks which Saddam Hussein donated to the country in 1994, El Kouri said, and managed to take over the presidential palace. Loyalist forces armed with anti-tank weapons managed to destroy eight rebel tanks during the battle.

    Taya, his wife, and their four children fled the palace 15 minutes before rebels took temporary control of the palace, according to well-placed sources, and the family sought refuge in the Spanish Embassy.

    El Kouri said there was significant damage to buildings in the city center, particularly to the presidential palace, which was partially burned.

    Mauritania is an Islamic republic that gained independence from France in 1960. The government has been cracking down on Islamic militants and political opposition activists over the past month, according to recent media reports.

    The International Federation of Human Rights Leagues reported that nine members of the banned opposition Nouhoud party were arrested on May 29 in an apparent crackdown on Taya's opponents.

    Taya, a former army colonel, came to power in a 1984 coup and was elected to the presidency in 1992 after Mauritania established a multi-party democracy. He was re-elected in 1997 and is expected to seek another term in December
 
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