[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 6 August 2005, 00:42 GMT 01:42 UK
Ousted Mauritania leader in shock
Deposed President Maaouiya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya
Deposed President Taya said he was surprised by the coup
The former president of the West African state of Mauritania has said he was stunned by the coup that ousted him from power.

Army officers overthrew President Maaouiya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya in a bloodless revolt on Wednesday.

Speaking for the first time since the coup, Mr Taya said he had been shocked to find out who was behind it.

He was toppled by the former security chief and close colleague, Colonel Ely Ould Mohammed Vall.

Friends and enemies

"My situation reminds me of the old adage: 'God, save me from my friends, I'll take care of my enemies'," President Taya told Radio France Internationale from Niger.

"I was stunned by the coup d'etat [...] and even more so when I heard who were the authors," Mr Taya said.

Map of Mauritania
Dominated by light-skinned Arabic-speakers (Moors)
Black Africans complain of discrimination
Mostly desert
Islamic republic
Recognises Israel

President Taya, who survived a number of coup attempts in his 21-year rule, was returning from the funeral of King Fahd in Saudi Arabia when the coup took place.

Col Vall, 55, has been director of national security since 1987 and, after played a key role in the 1984 coup which brought Mr Taya to power.

President Taya has been re-elected three times since.

Correspondents say he later made enemies among Islamists in the country, which is an Islamic republic.

Critics accuse the government of using the US-led war on terror to crack down on Islamic opponents.

Mr Taya had also prompted widespread opposition by establishing links with Israel, making Mauritania one of only three Arab states to have done so.

Last year nearly 200 people, including former President Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidallah, were put on trial for a series of alleged coup plots.

Mauritania 'foils' coup attempt
09 Jun 03 |  Africa
Country profile: Mauritania
20 Jul 04 |  Country profiles


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific