Mauritania is named after the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauretania,
which later became a province of the Roman Empire, even though the
modern state covers a territory far to the southwest of the old
kingdom. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauritania History: http://www.arab.net/mauritania/history/mauritania_history.html The capital of Mauritania is Nouakchott.
(SFC, 8/4/05, p.A12) 1444
Slaves from Africa were first carried to Portugal. Europe’s first
modern-era slave market was established in Portugal. Lancarote de
Freitas returned to Lagos, Portugal, with his small fleet of six
ships and 235 Berbers, kidnapped from a region of West Africa
(WSJ, 12/1/97, p.A20)(SSFC, 2/19/17, p.F6)(SFC,
1960 Nov 28, The Islamic
Republic of Mauritania proclaimed independence with Moktar Ould
Daddah as president.
(PC, 1992, p.973)(EWH, 4th ed., p.1233)
1960 Dec 4, The USSR vetoed
Mauritania's application for UN membership.
(EWH, 4th ed., p.1233)
1961 Oct 27, Outer Mongolia and
Mauritania become the 102nd and 103rd members of UN.
1963 May 25, The Organization
of African Unity (OAU) was founded, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by
Chad, Mauritania & Zambia. Emperor Haile Selassie was among the
key African leaders who founded the Organization of African Unity.
He oversaw the maiden meeting of the continental body. In 2001 it
was replaced the African Union.
(AP, 5/25/97)(SFC, 7/12/01, p.A12)(AP, 2/10/19)
1968-1973 A severe famine hit the Sahel region of
North Africa. Mauritania, Mali, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso) and Niger
were most affected.
(Econ, 8/20/05, p.57)
1975 May, Spain moved out of
Spanish Sahara and the native Sahrawi called for independence. Both
Morocco and Mauritania laid claim to Spanish Sahara (Western Sahara)
following Spain’s withdrawal. The Polisario Front, an armed
nationalist movement, sought to turn Western Sahara into an
independent state for its largely nomadic people.
6/7/00, p.A1)(Econ, 9/24/05, p.56)
1980 Jul 5, In Mauritania, a
west African republic, the regime of colonel Ould Haidalla decreed
the abolition of slavery and the imposition of the Islamic Sharia
Law. Prior to the 1980 abolition, slavery had been declared illegal
in 1960 and 1966, but only on paper.
1981 Nov 9, In Mauritania the
1980 decree by Pres. Haidalla outlawing slavery was translated into
law, however the legislation failed to criminalize it.
1981 Mauritania became last
country in the world to abolish slavery.
1984 In Mauritania Maaoya
Sid'Ahmed Taya took power in a military coup and tried to legitimize
his rule in the 1990s through elections the opposition says were
fraudulent. He was ousted in a military coup in 2005.
1987 The EU inked its first
fishing deal with Mauritania.
(WSJ, 1/18/07, p.A13)
1989 The Arab Maghreb Union was
created to encourage free trade between Algeria, Libya, Mauritania,
Morocco and Tunisia. It failed to hold summit meetings after 1994.
(Econ, 5/29/10, p.50)
1989-1990 During a border war with Senegal, tens
of thousands of black Mauritanians, from high ranking civil servants
to herdsmen, were accused of being Senegalese, rounded up and
(Econ, 5/5/07, p.62)(AP, 7/29/11)
1996 Jul, A US congressional
committee urged the West African republic to free its slaves.
(WSJ, 7/11/96, p.A10)
1997 Aug, From Chad a plague of
locusts began to spread across Mauritania with as many as 200
locusts per square yard.
(SFC, 9/27/97, p.A21)
1997 Elections were held and
widely viewed as fraudulent. Light-skinned Moors dominated the
government under Pres. Maaouya Sid’Ahmed Ould Taya.
(SFC, 12/27/00, p.C2)
1998 Jan 24, Pres. Maaouya Ould
Sid’Ahmed Taya met with Yasser Arafat in Nouakchott.
(SFC, 1/26/98, p.B12)
1999 Oct 28, Mauritania
established full diplomatic relations with Israel.
(SFC, 10/29/99, p.D3)
2000 Oct, The government banned
the opposition Union of Democratic Forces.
(SFC, 12/27/00, p.C2)
2000 Dec, The government
arrested opposition leader Ahmed Ould Daddah. He was later released
for Iraqi military and financial aid.
(SFC, 12/27/00, p.C2)
2000 Mauritania worked out a
deal with the World Bank and the IMF to save some $36 million a year
in debt payments.
(SFEC, 4/9/00, p.A12)
2000 Mauritania launched a
radio and television campaign to end gavage, the practice of
force-feeding girls to make them gain weight as a sign of health and
fertility. Illiteracy made progress slow.
(WSJ, 12/29/04, p.A1)
2002 Sep 1, Mauritania appealed
for international aid, saying lack of rain was causing a food crisis
that has put at risk nearly 1 million people and half of the desert
2002 Nov 7, Amnesty
International and other rights groups charged that slavery by north
African Arabs and Berbers and others persists in the West African
nation of Mauritania, two decades after its official abolition.
2003 Jan 28, Mauritania, an
Arab-dominated West African nation, banned anti-U.S. protests and
deployed hundreds of security forces in the capital to enforce the
2003 Jun 9, In Mauritania heavy
explosions shook Nouakchott, the capital of the Arab-dominated west
African nation for a 2nd day as Pres. Maaouya Sid'ahmed Ould Taya,
the pro-Western leader, battled a coup attempt. Army officers were
reported to be angry over a campaign against Islamic extremists.
Pres. Maaouya Sid'Ahmed Ould Taya said the government had regained
(AP, 6/9/03)(WSJ, 6/9/03, p.A1)(SFC, 6/9/03,
2003 Oct 22, The Arab-dominated
West African nation of Mauritania opened its first real presidential
campaign in more than a decade, with the grandson of black African
slaves of the Arabs among five opposition candidates competing.
2003 Nov 7, Arab-dominated
Mauritania held a presidential vote hoping to bring the West African
nation's 1st change of power without a coup. Pres. Maaoya Sid'Ahmed
Taya won the vote.
(AP, 11/6/03)(AP, 11/9/03)
2003 Nov 9, In Mauritania armed
security forces arrested Mohamed Ould Khouna Haidalla, the top
losing challenger from presidential elections in this Arab-dominated
desert nation, detaining him after an overnight standoff at his
2004 Jan 7, Mauritania armed
security force members stopped racers from the famed Paris-Dakar
Rally, demanding $65 from each vehicle to pass the border. The 26th
Paris-Dakar race crosses 6,920.4-miles, seven countries and the
Sahara Desert, ending Jan. 18 outside the Senegalese capital, Dakar
2004 Jan 10, A US anti-terror
team arrived in Mauritania. The US had received information of
threats against American interests in the West African nations of
Mauritania and Senegal.
2004 Feb 13, It was reported
that police in Mauritania had arrested of five suspected members of
Afghanistan's Taliban movement.
2004 Aug 9, Mauritania arrested
renegade officers and Islamic extremists to break up what officials
said was a brewing coup involving a terror campaign.
(WSJ, 8/10/04, p.A1)
2004 Aug, Swarms of locusts
descended on Mauritania. Hundreds of swarms were also reported in
Chad, Gambia, Mali, Niger, and Senegal.
(Econ, 8/14/04, p.43)
2004 Mauritania was the only
country in the world to raise its corporate income tax.
(Econ, 9/17/05, p.77)
2004 US Special Forces began
training local troops in Mauritania and Mali under a program called
the Pan-Sahel Initiative. The program was renamed the Trans-Sahara
Counter-Terrorism Initiative and taken over by Marines, who extended
the training to Chad and Niger.
(SFC, 10/2/04, p.A8)
2005 Jun 4-2005 Jun 5, An
overnight border raid by al-Qaida-linked insurgents in Mgheiti, a
remote Mauritanian army post in the northern desert, sparked a
gunbattle that killed 15 Mauritanian troops and nine attackers.
Algeria's Salafist Group for Call and Combat claimed responsibility
for the attack.
(AP, 6/5/05)(AP, 8/3/05)
2005 Jun, The Trans-Sahara
Counter-Terrorism Initiative began operations. The US funded plan
intended to provide military equipment and development aid to 9
north-east African countries considered fertile ground for Muslim
militant groups. Participating countries included Algeria, Chad,
Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia.
(SFC, 12/27/05, p.A1)
2005 Aug 3, A group of
Mauritanian army officers, including Colonel Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz,
announced the overthrow of Pres. Maaouiya Ould Taya. The Military
Council for Justice and Democracy named Col. Ely Mohammed Vall as
temporary leader. Vall installed 17-member ruling junta and a
24-member cabinet of technocrats to govern the country. The junta
promised to create true democratic institutions after a 2-year
transitional period. A quick return to calm indicated acceptance of
Taya's bloodless overthrow. The UN and EU denounced the coup and
Washington called for Taya to be restored to power.
(AP, 8/3/05)(AP, 8/5/05)(WSJ, 8/5/05, p.A7)(WSJ,
3/1/06, p.A7)(Econ, 8/16/08, p.50)
2005 The population of
Mauritania was about 3 million. The capital is Nouakchott.
(SFC, 8/4/05, p.A12)
2006 Feb, Mauritania began
pumping oil for export. 40% of its 3 million people lived below the
2006 Mar 3-2006 Mar 5, Wooden
canoes, carrying West Africans seeking a better life in Europe,
foundered off the coast of Mauritania over 3 days leaving at least
45 people dead.
(SFC, 3/7/06, p.A3)(Reuters, 3/7/06)
2006 Mar 16, The PM of
Mauritania asked the West for help in sealing his borders as
migrants from elsewhere in Africa were overwhelming the country as
they set out from there on an often deadly voyage to Europe.
2006 Apr 2, Mauritanian
officials said a boat packed with West Africans trying to reach
Europe collided with a fishing vessel, leaving 32 of the migrants
missing and believed drowned.
2006 Jun 25, Mauritanians voted
overwhelmingly to limit presidential terms in a referendum aimed at
ensuring they get a change of leadership at least once every 10
2006 Jul, Mauritania netted
$700 million from the EU for fishing rights over 6 years. The amount
of fish in West African waters has declined by 50% over the past 3
(WSJ, 1/18/07, p.A13)
2006 Aug 27, Mauritania police
said the bodies of 15 people found washed ashore on the beaches of
Nouakchatt, Mauritania's capital, are believed to be those of
African migrants who were trying to reach Spain's Canary Islands by
boat. Spain's Interior Ministry said more than 18,300 people have
reached the Canary Islands so far this year, the highest total ever.
2006 Sep 2, At least eight
boats carrying 674 migrants from Mauritania reached the Canary
Islands in the space of 24 hours.
2006 Nov 19, Mauritanians voted
for a national parliament in the first election since a military
junta seized control in 2005.
2007 Jan, The film “Bamako," by
Mauritanian-born director Abderrahmane Sissako, opened in West
Africa after premiering at the 2006 Cannes film festival. It took
its broadest swipe at the "structural adjustment programs"
championed by the World Bank and IMF during the world recession of
the late 1970s and early 1980s.
2007 Mar 11, Voters in
Mauritania went to the polls with hopes that whoever wins the first
presidential election since a coup two years ago will not plunge the
country back into totalitarian rule.
2007 Mar 25, Citizens of
Mauritania went to the polls for the second time this month,
choosing between two men vying to usher Mauritania into civilian
rule. Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi won Mauritania’s first free
(AP, 3/25/07)(AP, 3/25/08)
2007 Apr 10, The African Union
readmitted Mauritania to the pan-African organization from which it
was suspended after a coup in 2005.
2007 Apr 16, A quarter of the
1.5 million women in Mauritania a barren, dune-enveloped country
more than twice the size of Texas, are obese, according to the World
Health Organization. That's lower than the 40 percent of American
women who the WHO says are obese, but surprisingly high in a country
that has not a single fast-food franchise. Obesity is popular across
much of the Arab world. Nomadic peoples struggling to survive the
harsh desert came to prize fatness as a sign of health.
2007 Apr 19, President Sidi
Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi took over from a military junta as
Mauritania's civilian head of state.
2007 May 5, The 3 million
people of Mauritania earned on average about $530 a year.
(Econ, 5/5/07, p.62)
2007 Jun 1, The government of
Mauritania appealed to international donors to help it reverse a
food shortage affecting more than 1 million people.
2007 Aug 8, Mauritania passed a
law promising prison time for people who keep slaves, a monumental
step in the northwest African nation's push to eliminate the
long-standing practice. The government officially abolished slavery
in 1981, but no one has ever been prosecuted for it and no law
created a punishment.
2007 Aug 17, Saudi King
Abdullah ordered two aid packages worth 20 million dollars each be
dispatched to Sudan and Mauritania to help the impoverished African
countries hit by severe floods.
2007 Nov 6, A Mauritanian
patrol boat found a drifting boat from Senegal with some 100 people
aboard as well as 2 dead bodies. The migrants had spent nearly 3
weeks at sea and thrown 43 dead bodies overboard.
(SFC, 11/7/07, p.A3)
2007 Nov 17, Mauritanian
President Sidi Ould Sheikh Abdallahi met Libyan leader Moamer
Kadhafi at the start of visit to Tripoli aimed at boosting relations
after years of tension.
2007 Dec 24, Gunmen shot dead
four French tourists in Mauritania in West Africa. Sidi Ould Sidna,
was charged with planning and executing the killings of the French
tourists. He was extradited by Guinea-Bissau in January but later
escaped from authorities. 2 other suspected terrorists were arrested
on April 30. In May, 2010, a court sentenced 3 young men to death
for the murder of the French tourists. The men pleaded not guilty
and said their confessions were extracted under torture.
(AP, 12/24/07)(AP, 4/30/08)(SFC, 5/26/10, p.A2)
2008 Jan 4, The annual 5,760
Dakar Rally was canceled on the eve of the race across the Sahara
Desert because of terror threats and the recent Christmas Eve
killings of a French family in Mauritania blamed on al-Qaida-linked
militants. The race, organized by the France-based Amaury Sport
Organization (ASO), had been due to start in Lisbon, Portugal, and
finish in Dakar, Senegal, on Jan. 20.
(AP, 1/4/08)(WSJ, 1/5/08, p.A1)
2008 Feb 1, In Mauritania at
least one gunman opened fire on the Israeli Embassy, setting off a
battle with guards that wounded one person. 8 people were soon
detained, but all were released for lack of evidence. 2 suspected
terrorists were arrested on April 30.
(AP, 2/1/08)(AP, 2/19/08)(AP, 4/30/08)
2008 May 6, Mauritania’s
President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi said in a statement he had
named economist Yahya Ould Ahmed Waqef (50) as prime minister.
2008 May, Mauritania’s
President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi appointed 12 ministers, some
accused of corruption and all of whom had held prominent posts in
the government of former President Maaouya Sid'Ahmed Ould Taya, who
was ousted in the 2005 coup.
2008 Aug 6, Army officers in
Mauritania, upset with government overtures toward Islamic
hard-liners, staged a coup overthrowing the first government to be
freely elected in more than 20 years. President Sidi Ould Cheikh
Abdallahi was held at his palace in Nouakchott by presidential guard
soldiers, led by Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz. Arab-dominated Mauritania,
with a population of 3.4 million, has been wracked by more than 10
coups or attempted coups since independence from France in 1960.
(AP, 8/6/08)(Econ, 8/9/08, p.44)
2008 Aug 9, AU spokesman
El-Ghassim Wane said the African Union has frozen Mauritania's
membership in the wake of a coup in the country.
2008 Aug 11, Mauritania's
ousted PM Yahya Ould Ahmed Waqef defiantly refused to recognize the
African country's ruling military junta, after he was freed from
house arrest under international pressure.
2008 Aug 14, Military leaders
in Mauritania named former EU ambassador Moulaye Ould Mohamed
Laghdaf as prime minister.
(WSJ, 8/14/08, p.A8)
2008 Sep 15, In Mauritania
suspected al-Qaeda militants killed 12 soldiers. The terror group
had promised to avenge the country’s recent coup.
(SFC, 9/16/08, p.A3)
2008 Oct 7, In Mauritania
police fired tear gas and used batons to beat back union activists
demanding the reinstatement of the deposed president.
2008 Nov 13, In Mauritania the
military junta that ousted President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi
released him in response to international pressure.
2008 Dec 3, An international
rights group said the torture of prisoners including al-Qaida
suspects has increased under the military junta that rules
Mauritania, where security forces routinely abuse detainees with
electric shocks, burnings, beatings and sexual violence.
2008 Dec 21, The deposed
president of Mauritania was set free after 4 1/2 months under house
arrest and immediately began working to retake power from the junta
that overthrew him.
2009 Jan 16, Mauritania and
Qatar suspended contacts with Israel to protest the Gaza bloodshed
at an Arab summit that deepened the divisions between pro-US Arab
nations and their rivals in the Middle East.
2009 Jan 29, The African Union
said the exclusion from its summit of Mauritania and Guinea, which
both suffered coups recently, proved the continent had moved on from
its checkered past. The summit was scheduled for Feb 1-3 in
2009 Mar 6, The Israeli foreign
ministry said it had closed its embassy after the government of
Mauritania asked the Israeli ambassador and his staff to leave.
2009 Apr 15, In Mauritania Gen.
Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the leader of a coup that ousted the
elected government, gave up power. This freed him to seek the
presidency in balloting aimed at returning civilian rule. Senate
president Ba Mamadou Mbare was quickly sworn in as interim leader of
the desert nation in western Africa.
2009 May 28, In Senegal UN,
African Union, EU and Arab League representatives met with Mauritian
political parties in Dakar to discuss upcoming polls and a political
stalemate since a coup.
2009 Jun 16, The US added six
African countries to a blacklist of countries trafficking in people,
and put US trading partner Malaysia back on the list. Chad, Eritrea,
Niger, Mauritania, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe were added to the list in
the annual report. Removed from the list were Qatar, Oman, Algeria,
2009 Jun 23, In Mauritania
gunmen attempted to kidnap Christopher Ervin Leggett (39), an
American teacher, then shot and killed him when he tried to resist.
Leggett had taught at a center specializing in computer science in
El Kasr, a lower-class neighborhood in Nouakchott. Al-Qaida's North
Africa branch soon claimed responsibility for the killing. On July
17 police arrested two suspects in the killing. On July 24 a 3rd
suspect, Didi Ould Bezeid (26), was arrested in Nouakchott.
(AP, 6/23/09)(AP, 6/25/09)(AP, 7/25/09)
2009 Jun 27, In Mauritania more
than 10 months after being overthrown in a military coup, President
Sidi Cheikh Ould Abdallahi, the country’s first freely elected
president, gave up his claim to power and officially resigned.
2009 Jun 30, The African Union
Executive Council announced it was lifting sanctions against
Mauritania despite the coup held there 10 months ago. The sanctions
could be enforced again if the presidential election due July 18
aren't considered fair.
2009 Jul 17, In Nouakchott,
Mauritania, police exchanged fire with suspected Islamic extremists,
killing one and wounding another who was wearing explosives wrapped
around his body. A 3rd suspect reportedly escaped.
2009 Jul 18, Mauritania held
post-coup elections. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, a former military
general who ousted this Islamic nation's first freely elected
president, vied with 8 other candidates to become the legitimate
2009 Jul 19,
In Mauritania Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (b.1956), former head of the
junta that toppled the country’s first freely elected leader, won
the presidency in a vote his opponents decried as a fraudulent
"electoral coup." The final result gave Aziz 52.47% of the vote,
enabling him to avoid a runoff. The Constitutional Court declared
the result official on July 23, just hours after the head of the
election commission resigned over doubts about the ballot.
(AP, 7/19/09)(AP, 7/23/09)
2009 Aug 8, In Mauritania a
suicide bomber killed himself outside the French Embassy, wounding
two embassy guards and a woman in the street. An African branch of
Al-Qaida later said the attack was a response to the aggression of
"crusaders" including former colonial ruler France, and to
Mauritanian leaders against Islam and Muslims.
(AP, 8/8/09)(AP, 8/18/09)
2009 Aug 16, The US Peace Corps
says it has pulled more than 100 American volunteers out of
Mauritania for security reasons. The volunteers left for neighboring
Senegal and will not return to Mauritania.
2009 Sep 27, In Venezuela Pres.
Hugo Chavez proposed that South American and African nations unite
to create a cross-continental mining corporation to keep control of
their resources. Chavez made diplomatic inroads in Africa at a
summit of South American and African leaders where he offered
Venezuela's help in oil projects, mining and financial assistance.
Venezuela signed agreements to work together on oil projects with
South Africa, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan and Cape Verde.
(Reuters, 9/27/09)(AP, 9/28/09)
2009 Nov 29, In Mauritania 3
Spanish volunteers were kidnapped by gunmen. Spain's interior
minister said the next day that he suspected al-Qaida-linked
Islamists were behind the attack. On Dec 2 a Mauritanian official
said the 3 aid workers were being taken by their captors to
neighboring Mali. Aid worker Alicia Gamez (35) was released on March
10, 2010. Businessmen Roque Pascual and Albert Vilalta remained
captive. Al-Qaida's offshoot in North Africa said on March 12 that
it had released Gamez because she voluntarily converted to Islam.
Pascual and Vilalta were released in August 2010.
(AP, 11/30/09)(AP, 12/2/09)(AP, 3/10/10)(AP,
2009 Dec 19, In eastern
Mauritania an Italian, Sergio Cicala and his wife, Philopene Kabore,
were missing and their car was found abandoned, near the border with
Mali. On Dec 21 police arrested Abderrahmane Ould Imidou, a man
presumed to have kidnapped the two Italians.
(Reuters, 12/19/09)(AP, 12/22/09)
2009 Dec 23, The White House
said President Obama has removed Madagascar, Guinea and Niger from a
list of African countries receiving trade benefits, but reinstated
Mauritania. The US froze most aid to Niger and imposed travel bans
on some officials in response to President Mamadou Tandja's moves to
extend his rule over the impoverished West African nation.
(AFP, 12/23/09)(Reuters, 12/23/09)
2010 Jan 18, A group of 30
Mauritanian Muslim leaders issued a religious edict banning female
genital mutilation in the West African country. The leaders also
agreed to preach against the practice at their mosques.
2010 Feb 26, Sierra Leone and
five other west African countries (Mauritania, Senegal,
Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea) signed onto an action plan in
Freetown for sustainable mangrove management.
2010 Apr 21, The Algerian
Defense Ministry said Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger are
opening a joint military headquarters in the Algerian city
Tamanrasset, in a united effort to combat terrorism and kidnapping
in northwestern Africa. The Committee of Joint Chiefs (CEMOC) was
based in Tamanrasset.
(AP, 4/21/10)(AP, 12/20/11)
2010 May 13, The UN General
Assembly approved all 14 candidates for the 14 seats on the
47-member Human Rights Council. Human rights groups criticized the
poor human rights records 7 of the candidates: Angola, Libya,
Malaysia, Mauritania, Qatar, Thailand and Uganda.
(SFC, 5/14/10, p.A2)
2010 May, A Mauritanian court
sentenced Ould Haiba and two other men, who all claimed to be
members of an al-Qaida offshoot, to death for the 2007 murder of
four French tourists who were picnicking on the side of a highway in
eastern Mauritania on Christmas Eve. Maarouf Ould Haiba died on May
12, 2014, after being on a hunger strike for some time.
2010 Jun 23, British-based risk
consultancy Maplecroft said African nations led by Mauritania,
Somalia and Sudan have the most precarious water supplies in the
2010 Jul 22, France and
Mauritania carried out a military operation against al Qaeda's North
African wing, believed to be holding Michel Germaneau, a 78-year-old
French hostage in the desert Sahel region.
2010 Jul 24, French-backed
Mauritanian military operations against al Qaeda fighters in the
Sahara desert wound up after four days of hunting Islamists deep
2010 Aug 23, Two Spanish aid
workers held by al Qaeda's North African wing were freed in Mali,
ending a kidnapping that lasted nearly nine months, the longest
period of captivity in the Sahara desert. Al Qaeda in the Islamic
Maghreb (AQIM) said it seized Albert Vilalta and Roque Pascual while
they were traveling through Mauritania with a relief aid convoy last
2010 Sep 17, The Mauritanian
army launched an offensive against the North African branch of
al-Qaida in neighboring Mali. At least 12 militants died and five
Mauritanians were killed in the operation, which was launched
inside northern Mali with permission.
2010 Sep 30, Algerian daily
Al-Watan said spy chiefs from four north African countries (Algeria,
Mauritania, Mali and Niger) have set up a center for joint
operations against Al Qaeda in the Sahel region during a meeting in
2010 Oct 13, Kuwait gave 28
million euros to Mauritania during Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah's
whistle-stop visit to the poor northwest African nation.
2010 Oct 19, The UN said that
377 people had died in flooding in central and west Africa, with
nearly 1.5 million people affected since the start of the rainy
season in June. The highest toll was in Nigeria with 118, followed
by Ghana (52), Sudan (50), Benin (43), Chad (24), Mauritania (21),
Burkina Faso (16), Cameroon (13), Gambia (12), with other countries
reporting less than 10 dead.
2010 Oct 20, A court in
Mauritania condemned three alleged al-Qaida members to death,
including the former leader of the African nation's local terrorist
network. Former al-Qaida leader, El Khadim Ould Semene, was accused
of helping organize an attack on the Israeli embassy here two years
2011 Jan 16, A Mauritania court
sentenced three women for keeping children in slave-like conditions.
The women included the mothers of the two girls, 10 and 14, and were
convicted of negligence and of participating in the exploitation of
minors for selling their children. Each woman was given six months'
imprisonment. Mauritania outlawed slavery in 2007.
2011 Jan 17, Two men set
themselves on fire in Egypt and Mauritania, raising to three the
number of self-immolation attempts apparently influenced by a
similar action in Tunisia that helped trigger a popular uprising. In
Cairo Abdou Abdel-Monaam Hamadah (48) was taken to the hospital with
light burns. In Nouakchott Yacoub Ould Dahoud (43) torched himself
in his car and was rushed to a hospital.
2011 Apr 25, Mauritanian police
arrested 20 people after hundreds demonstrated in the capital
against the regime of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
2011 Apr 28, A Mauritania
fishing boat shipwrecked off the coast leaving 12 sailors missing.
2011 Jun 24, In northeast Mali
a raid by the Mauritanian army on an Al-Qaeda base left 17 dead,
including two soldiers.
2011 Jun 26, Mauritanian
aircraft struck an Al-Qaeda base in northeast Mali. 9 suspected
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) fighters were arrested by the
2011 Jul 5, In Mauritania
al-Qaida militants attacked a military base in the town of Bassiknou
and then fled towards Mali. On July 7 the army said 6 militants were
killed with no casualties on the Mauritanian side. The militants
said that they had killed 20 soldiers in an ambush late last month
in the Wagadou region of Mali. Mauritanian officials said 15
militants and two soldiers were killed.
(AP, 7/6/11)(AP, 7/7/11)
2011 Jul 28, Dozens of ethnic
black Mauritanians rallied to denounce a census they feel aims at
depriving them of their citizenship in a country riven by ethnic and
2011 Sep 19, Mauritanian
President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz called for closer ties with China
during a visit to the Chinese-Arab economic and trade forum in
Yinchuan. Both countries signed an agreement granting the
Mauritanian armed forces financial support worth 20 million yuan
(2.3 millions euros, 3.1 million dollars).
2011 Sep 24, Hundreds of black
Mauritanians rallied against a census they see as racist, in
protests that turned violent in some cities, and several arrests
2011 Sep 30, A Mauritanian
official said that police have arrested 56 people following violent
clashes over a population census.
2011 Oct 13, Air traffic
between Senegal and Mauritania resumed after a three-month pause,
ending a row over onward flights.
2011 Oct 20, Mauritania's army
conducted an air raid to prevent a planned attack by al-Qaida-linked
insurgents in a forest just across the border in Mali, where the
group has a cell. Ali Ould Sidi Tiyib, a leader for al-Qaida in the
Islamic Maghreb, was later reported killed in the raid. He was
wanted for his role in an attack against the Israeli Embassy in
Mauritania in 2008.
(AP, 10/20/11)(AP, 10/22/11)
2011 Nov 18, The European
Commission said an extra 10 million euros ($13.5 million) in
humanitarian funding will go on addressing "major shortfalls" in
food in the Sahel region. The crisis is affecting 7 million people
in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria.
2011 Nov 21, In Mali army
chiefs from Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, met in Bamako amid
mounting concerns over the fallout from Libya's conflict on security
in the troubled zone.
2011 Nov 23, Mauritania
arrested 10 men on suspicion of ties with armed Islamic extremists.
They were charged a month later. On July 2, 2012, the Nouakchott
criminal court convicted two of the men of attempting to form a
terrorist group, while acquitting eight others.
2011 Dec 5, Mauritanian police
said they have arrested two Western Saharan men suspected of
kidnapping an Italian and two Spanish aid workers in Algeria on
2011 Dec 8, The UN's World Food
Program said meager rains and diminished harvests have left between
five and seven million people in Africa's Sahel region facing food
shortages. The countries of Niger, Mauritania, Mali and Chad were
2011 Dec 13, Algeria and
Mauritania's leaders vowed to beef up security in the Sahel region,
where Islamist militants, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM),
were holding a dozen Western hostages.
2011 Dec 19, Mauritania said it
has signed an agreement with French oil group Total to explore for
oil at sea and to extract any oil discovered.
2011 Dec 20, Mauritanian
paramilitary police officer "Ely Ould Moktar was kidnapped from his
unit in Adel Begrou. On March 10 he was freed in exchange for
Abderrahmane Ould Meddou of Mali, who was serving a 5-year jail
sentence for involvement in the abduction of an Italian couple
earlier this year.
2011 Dec 28, Mauritania issued
an international warrant for the arrest of Moustapha Ould Limam
Chavi (53), an opponent of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, for
supporting terror groups in the Sahel region. Chafi soon announced
plans to sue the president for defamation.
(AFP, 12/28/11)(AFP, 12/30/11)
2012 Jan 16, Al-Qaida's North
African branch issued a new video that shows a Mauritanian officer
who was recently captured by the terror group during a raid in the
2012 Jan 24, In Mauritania
representatives from Sahel states and Nigeria vowed to help each
other fight terrorism from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and
Islamist sect Boko Haram, which are said to have ties.
2012 Feb 5, Aid officials in
Mali said more than 15,000 people including military personnel have
fled into neighboring countries since members of the nomadic Tuareg
ethnic group launched a new rebellion against the Malian government
last month. The ICRC said 10,000 people have crossed into Niger and
5,000 into Mauritania.
2012 Feb 9, The World Food
Program said a food crisis in Mauritania as a result of drought is
expected to be three times worse that in 2010, when the Sahel was
crippled by food shortages.
2012 Feb 15, United Nations and
EU aid chiefs called for "urgent" assistance for West Africa's
drought-hit Sahel region (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania,
Niger), saying it needed $725 million (552 million euros) this year.
2012 Feb 16, The mediation and
security council of the West African regional group ECOWAS approved
humanitarian aid of three million dollars for victims of the food
crisis and rebel attacks in the Sahel region (Burkina Faso, Chad,
Mali, Mauritania, Niger).
2012 Mar 17, Mauritania
arrested Abdullah al-Senoussi, Moammar Ghadafi's former intelligence
chief, accused of attacking civilians during the uprising in Libya
last year and the 1989 bombing of a French airliner. The
International Criminal Court, France and Libya all said they want to
2012 Mar 21, A Libyan spokesman
said the Mauritanian government has given their agreement for the
extradition of former Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senoussi
to Libya so he can be judged by a fair process. Mauritania denied
(AP, 3/21/12)(AFP, 3/21/12)
2012 Apr 10, UN children's aid
organization UNICEF led a cross-agency appeal for funds for the
Sahel region (parts of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and
Niger) where 15 million are suffering from malnutrition.
2012 Apr 22, Thousands of young
Mauritanian opposition protestors took to the streets of Nouakchott
to demand President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, a former coup leader,
2012 Apr 23, Aid agencies said
they are facing a multi-million dollar funding shortage to deal with
a food crisis in the Sahel where people are resorting to
increasingly desperate measures to survive. The crisis has so far
affected Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
2012 Apr 27, The UN food agency
appealed to oil- and mineral-rich nations to set up a fund to combat
the food crisis gripping the Sahel desert region (Chad, Mali,
Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger) and other parts of Africa. The
group said it needed $110 million (83 million euros) to combat the
crisis in the short term.
2012 May 2, In Mauritania the
opposition began protests calling for President Mohamed Ould Abdel
Aziz to step down.
2012 May 9, In Mauritania
thousands opposition activists staged a march and sit-down protest
in Nouakchott, calling for former coup leader Pres. Mohamed Ould
Abdel Aziz to step down.
2012 May 18, In Mauritania
several people were hurt and arrested as police fired tear gas and
beat back protesters demanding that President Mohamed Ould Abdel
Aziz step down in a fresh anti-regime protest.
2012 May 25, Mauritanian police
fired teargas to break up a fresh opposition protest calling for
President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to step down, leaving many injured
and at least five under arrest.
2012 May 31, The Geneva-based
office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says it now needs
$153.7 million for its operations this year, quadrupling its aid
appeal for Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
2012 Jun 4, A north Malian Arab
militia broke away from a meeting of fellow Arabs in Mauritania,
declaring they would fight for the independence of Mali's troubled
north. Arabs were meeting in Nouakchott to discuss ways to solve a
crisis in Mali's north.
2012 Jun 4, In Mauritania
workers at Kinross Gold’s Tasiast gold mine initiated an unlawful
work stoppage, halting mining and processing activity at the
2012 Jul 12, In Mauritania 7
people were killed in the crash of a YAK-12 military plane chartered
by a Canadian mining company to transport gold.
2012 Jul 26, Mauritania and the
European Union signed a new fishing accord after months of heated
debate to agree on the EU's exact financial contribution.
2012 Jul, In Mauritania Aaron
Yoon, from London in the Canadian province of Ontario, was sentenced
a Nouakchott criminal court to two years in prison and ordered to
pay a fine of 5 million ouguiyas ($18,000). Yoon was arrested in
late December 2011 as he prepared to join Islamist fighters in
northern Mali, together with some young Mauritanians. On July 14,
2013, a Mauritanian appeals court reduced his sentence to 1˝ years,
meaning he had technically finished serving his sentence.
(Reuters, 4/9/13)(AP, 7/15/13)
2012 Aug 4, In Mauritania a
10-party opposition bloc signed a charter rejecting any solution to
the country's political crisis that does not involve the departure
of Pres. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
2012 Aug 6, Mauritanian
President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said he will not resign, despite
weeks of protests by the opposition who accuse him of despotism and
2012 Aug 16, A Mauritanian man
has the throats of his four children to avoid the expense of buying
them new clothes for the upcoming Muslim holiday Eid-al-fitr.
2012 Sep 5, Deposed Libyan
dictator Moammar Gadhafi's spy chief, Abdullah al-Senoussi, was put
under detention in Tripoli after being extradited from Mauritania.
2012 Sep 9, In Mali 16
preachers from a moderate Muslim sect were killed at a checkpoint in
the central town of Diabaly after reportedly being mistaken for
Islamic extremists. The preachers, many of whom were Mauritanian,
were traveling by road to Bamako to attend a religious conference.
2012 Oct 13, Mauritania’s
President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was lightly wounded by friendly
fire after his vehicle was fired upon by the military on the
outskirts of the capital, Nouakchott.
2012 Mauritania officially
designated slavery as a crime, with those convicted liable to 10
years in prison.
2013 Apr 29, In Mauritania a
group calling for the rights of the Haratines was launched. The
Haratins are oasis-dwellers in the Sahara, especially in southern
Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Western Sahara, who make up a
socially and ethnically distinct group of largely settled,
non-nomadic workers, with relatively dark complexions, speaking
either Berber or Arabic.
2013 Apr, AnonGhost, a
Mauritania based hacker group, launched a cyber attack dubbed
OpIsrael that disrupted access to several Israeli government
websites, attracting the attention of security experts worldwide.
2013 May 20, In Mauritania
Sanda Ould Boumana, the Timbuktu-based spokesman for Ansar Dine, was
transferred Nouakchott after he turned himself in over the weekend.
2013 Jun 2, A Mauritanian
official said that the US has transferred Younis al-Mauritani, one
of its prisoners held in Afghanistan, to Mauritania. He was wanted
in Mauritania for alleged involvement in an Islamic extremist attack
in June 2005 in which 17 Mauritanian soldiers were killed.
2013 Nov 18, Mauritanian police
crushed a protest by hundreds of youths demanding a boycott of
upcoming elections, wounding several.
2013 Nov 23, Mauritanians voted
in nationwide elections overshadowed by a widespread boycott of
opposition parties, with all eyes on the performance of an Islamist
party allowed to take part for the first time.
2013 Dec 21, Mauritania held
runoff elections. The ruling party secured a majority of seats in
round two of the parliamentary election. The decisive victory for
the Union of the Republic party assured that President Mohamed Ould
Abdel Aziz, who came to power in a 2008 coup, will retain complete
control of the organs of state.
2013 Dec 30, A Mauritania
judicial committee, chaired by President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz,
met and decided to create a court to try crimes of slavery.
2013 Mauritania imposed a ban
on plastic bags, saying an estimated 70% of cattle and sheep in the
capital of Nouakchatt were dying from ingesting plastic bags.
(SFC, 5/30/15, p.A2)
2014 Jan 12, The leaders of
Mali and Mauritania signed an accord to boost military cooperation
and information sharing in the battle against "armed groups or
terrorists" plaguing the west African neighbors.
2014 Feb 2, Mauritania's PM
Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf and his cabinet resigned, a move that
had been expected after the ruling party scored a sweeping victory
in legislative and local elections last year.
2014 Jun 21, Mauritanians voted
to choose their next president, but with the major opposition
parties boycotting, incumbent Mohamed Ould Abdel Azi seemed certain
to hold on to power.
2014 Nov 13, Amnesty
International urged Mauritania to end "harassment, intimidation and
repression" of anti-slavery activists, following a number of
2014 Dec 24, Mauritania
delivered its first death sentence for apostasy since independence
in 1960, ordering capital punishment for a Muslim man who wrote an
article deemed blasphemous of Islam. Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed,
aged in his late 20s, fainted when the ruling was read.
2014 Mauritania expelled 6.463
immigrants this year, up from 713 a year earlier.
(Econ, 10/17/15, p.57)
2015 Feb 20, In western
Mauritania a road accident killed 14 soldiers and injured some 20
near the town of Atar.
2015 Jun 16, A court in
Mauritania convicted three men of belonging to the Islamic State
extremist group and sentenced them to between five and 10 years in
2015 Oct 29, The US Pentagon
said Ahmed Abdel Aziz (45) has been sent back to his native
Mauritania after 13 years in custody at Guantanamo. He was never
charged with a crime.
2015 Dec 7, Al Qaeda in the
Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) released a video showing three men
purportedly confessing to spying for the Mauritanian and French
military and then one being taken out of a pick-up truck in the
desert and shot in the head. The 22-minute video shows the men
saying they had been spying in northern Mali since at least 2006.
2015 Dec 31, Rights campaigners
said a Mauritanian court has remanded in custody two men accused of
keeping women and children as slaves, during a crackdown on the
deeply rooted practice.
2015 Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s
“Guantanamo Diary," written in 2005, was published. It was edited by
Larry Siems. Slahi had left Afghanistan in 1992 after fighting for
al-Qaida against a communist government. In 2000 Slahi was arrested
in Senegal while on his way back to Mauritania. As of 2015 he
remained in jail in Guantanamo.
(Econ, 1/31/15, p.75)
2015 Mauritania ordered
preachers at Friday prayers to publicize a fatwa by the country’s
leading clerics declaring that slavery has no foundation in sharia
(Econ, 8/22/15, p.51)
2015 The population of
Mauritania was about 3.5 million.
(Econ, 10/17/15, p.57)
2016 Jan 19, Cheikh Ould
Saleck, a Mauritanian Al-Qaeda jihadist on death row until his
escape on New Year's Eve, was re-arrested this evening after
crossing the Guinea-Bissau border into Guinea.
2016 Feb 20, In Mauritania At
least 40 prisoners escaped in a jailbreak in a suburb of the capital
city Nouakchott. By mid-morning, seven prisoners were back in
custody while security forces were searching for the others.
2016 Mar 4, At a meeting in
Chad's capital N'Djamena, defense chiefs from Chad, Niger, Burkina
Faso, Mali and Mauritania -- the so-called G5 Sahel countries --
pledged to form special units to respond quickly to threats and
attacks from Islamist militants.
2016 Apr 21, Malian security
arrested Mauritanian man in Bamako suspected of planning and
carrying out deadly attacks on popular tourist venues in Mali last
2016 Apr 29, In Mauritania
thousands of people marched for the rights of former slaves and to
denounce injustice against them in the west African nation where
slavery persists despite being officially abolished decades ago.
Australia-based Walk Free Movement estimated in its 2014 Global
Slavery Index that there were 156,000 slaves in Mauritania, or some
four percent of the population.
2016 May 7, In Mauritania
thousands of people gathered in Nouakchott to protest against a move
by President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to abolish the senate.
2016 May 25, Anti-slavery
campaigners said the jailing of two slave-owners this week and the
release of two leading anti-slavery activists from prison could mark
a turning point in Mauritania’s fight to eliminate the practice.
2016 Jun 1, In Mauritania 8
women were trampled to death in a stampede to receive alms being
distributed by a charity ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
2016 Jul 25, In Mauritania only
a handful of Arab officials gathered in a tent in Nouakchott, in the
most poorly attended Arab League summit in years, a sign of the
region's disarray. Only 7 of 22 heads of state bothered to attend.
(AP, 7/25/16)(Econ, 7/30/16, p.37)
2016 Aug 18, In Mauritania
thirteen anti-slavery activists, arrested beween June 30 and July 9
for "rebellion and use of violence," were sentenced to between three
and 15 years in prison, despite criticism of the case against them
by international rights groups. On August 15 they told a court they
had been tortured while in custody.
(AFP, 8/15/16)(AFP, 8/19/16)
2017 Jun 3, Mali's military
chief said the countries of West Africa's Sahel region are
requesting 50 million euros ($56 million) from the European Union to
help set up a multinational force to take on Islamist militant
groups. the so-called G5 Sahel countries included Chad, Niger,
Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania.
2017 Jun 21, The UN Security
Council unanimously adopted a resolution that paves the way for the
deployment of a five-nation African military force to fight
jihadists in the Sahel region. Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania
and Niger had agreed in March to set up the special joint
2017 Jul 2, In Mali French
Pres. Emmanuel Macron met with leaders from five regional countries
known as the G5 (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger). He
said France will provide military support for operations as well as
70 tactical vehicles and communications, operations and protective
equipment to support a new multinational military force against
extremists in the vast Sahel region.
2017 Aug 5, Mauritania held a
contentious referendum to alter the constitution amid widespread
opposition claims that the vote is a ploy to increase presidential
2017 Aug 15, Mauritania's
President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz approved a newly drafted law
abolishing the senate, the most controversial measure in a package
of reforms passed by referendum this month.
2017 Oct 28, The G5 Sahel force
(Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Mauritania), backed by France
and the United States, launched its campaign to counter escalating
Islamist insurgencies amid growing unrest.
2017 Oct 30, Secretary of State
Rex Tillerson said the United States has promised $60 million to
support the Group of Five Sahel States (G5 Sahel: Burkina Faso,
Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) Joint Force’s counterterrorism
2017 Nov 23, France-based
Interpol said 40 suspected human traffickers have been arrested and
nearly 500 of their victims freed in a vast police operation in five
African countries. The operation earlier this month was carried out
in Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.
2017 Nov 28, Mauritania flew a
new national flag for the first time, the country's independence
day, following a contested constitutional referendum that prompted a
senator's arrest and hunger strike.
2017 Dec 13, French President
Emmanuel Macron hosted a summit for the leaders of the G5 Sahel
(composed of the armies of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and
Chad) plus Germany and Italy as well as the Saudi and Emirati
ministers. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates committed 130
million euros ($152.75 million) to tackle Islamist militants in the
2018 Jan 8, The defence and
foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger,
the G5 Sahel, pledged to pool military efforts to fight terrorism
have set up a fiduciary fund to oversee donations for their
2018 Feb 6, In Niger five Sahel
countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) made a
pitch for further funds for a joint force to fight jihadism in their
2018 Feb 23, EU leaders and
int’l. donors in Brussels pledged 414 million euros ($510 million)
to help five countries in West Africa's vast Sahel region (Burkina
Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) set up a new counterterror
force as a deadly jihadist threat grows.
(AP, 2/23/18)(AFP, 2/23/18)
2018 Jul 1, Mauritania hosted a
2-day AU summit in Nouakchott. It was attended by more than 40
African heads of state and government as well as French Pres.
Emmanuel Macron. Thirty African leaders began a closed-door meeting
to discuss ways to fight extremism and corruption at the 31st
African Union summit.
(AFP, 7/1/18)(AP, 7/1/18)
2018 Jul 19, The latest Global
Slavery Index showed one in 10 people in North Korea live in
slavery, with most forced to work for the state. The index listed
Eritrea, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan,
Mauritania, South Sudan, Pakistan, Cambodia and Iran as the worst
offenders after North Korea.
2018 Sep 1, Mauritania, a
frontline state in the fight against Islamic extremism, voted on in
legislative, regional and local elections that will test head of
state Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz's record seven months before a
2018 Nov 2, The US Trade
Representative's Office (USTR) said President Donald Trump intends
to end trade benefits for Mauritania on Jan. 1 for not making
sufficient progress on ending forced labor practices.
2018 Nov 5, In Senegal a
two-day African security forum opened in Dakar amid concerns about
funding for a much-trumpeted initiative to bind the G5 Sahel force
(Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) into an anti-terror
2018 Nov 8, International
rights groups urged Mauritania to release anti-slavery activists, as
the United States has announced it will end trade benefits to the
West African country over the continuation of slavery. 33 human
rights organizations called for the release of blogger Mohamed
Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir (35), who remains in custody in an undisclosed
2018 Dec 2, Saudi Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Mauritania, resuming a tour of Arab
countries after attending the G20 summit in Argentina.
2018 Dec 5, The UN
secretary-general's envoy for Western Sahara met with foreign
ministers from Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania plus leaders of the
Polisario Front in Geneva over the future of the Morocco-annexed
2018 Dec 6, The European Union
and France said their total investment in development funding aimed
at preventing terrorism in the G5 African Sahel countries
(Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, and Niger) would rise to 1.3
billion euros ($1.5 billion), as the region struggles with jihadism
2018 Dec 6, In Geneva two days
of UN talks on Western Sahara ended with all sides promising to meet
again for a similar "round table" in the first quarter of 2019, UN
envoy Horst Koehler told reporters after the meeting ended