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Mauritania's former PM arrested, again

Latest update : 2008-08-23

Mauritanian police arrested former Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed El Waghef after he led one of the biggest protest marches in years opposing a military coup earlier this month, his secretary said.

Mauritanian Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed Waghf, forced out in a military coup August 6, was re-arrested Thursday, political parties who support the ousted regime said.

He was arrested in the northern town of Nouadhibou on his way to a political meeting, said the Front for the Defence of Democracy, a coalition of four political parties who continue to support the ousted government.

"Security forces arrested him when he tried to enter Nouadhibou and turned him over to the police who are bringing him to the capital now," said El Hassan Ould Keihil, a spokesmen for the Front, told AFP.

The prime minister was arrested after the coup but released on August 11 by the new military junta led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

The reasons for the latest arrest of the prime minister are not known.

It comes after Ould Ahmed Waghf told Abu Dhabi TV on Wednesday the president had tried to fire the generals after learning they were "preparing a coup to be carried out 19 August".

Last week the ousted prime minister said he would not recognize the nomination by the junta of former diplomat Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghaf as his replacement and would not willingly hand over his post.

The ousted president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi is still being detained by the authorities, under house arrest in a villa on the grounds of the Nouakchott congress centre.

Date created : 2008-08-21