In the last few days several incidents have occurred that pitted Mauritanian security forces against suspected members of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Reuters reports that “Mauritanian forces [were] put on alert on Saturday after three suspect vehicles entered the country from Mali, and [gave] chase with jeeps and a helicopter.” Yesterday soldiers seized one vehicle and found that it contained explosives. They arrested the occupants and took them to Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital.
The second vehicle approached Nouakchott some time late last night. Soldiers fired at the vehicle a short distance from the city and it exploded, wounding several soldiers and killing the vehicle’s three occupants.
The third vehicle apparently remains free.
I hope to write more on the issue of preventive solutions to AQIM kidnappings and attacks soon – today, even, if I get my act together. Regarding this incident, from the few details that have emerged so far it looks to be a (thus far) successful job of surveillance on the part of Mauritanian security forces. We will see what happens when and if the third vehicle surfaces, of course, but Mauritanian soldiers may have effectively prevented – or at least minimized – a fairly sizable plot.
[UPDATE]: Jeune Afrique (Fr) reports that the incident was connected to a plot to assassinate Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. Jeune Afrique adds that two Mauritanians and one national of Guinea-Bissau were among the arrested suspects.
Kal has more.