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Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2008 17:35 UK

Fear for ousted Mauritania leader

Amal Mint Cheikh Abdallahi, daughter and communications assistant to Mauritania's ousted President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, spoke to the BBC about the fears for her father's safety.


Mauritania's ousted president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi
Amal has not seen her father since he was taken away on Wednesday
I do not know where my father is. Officers took him yesterday in the morning and until now I do not know where he is or how he is.

I have not even been able to talk to him.

I am very worried about his health and his security.

He is in jail somewhere, he cannot call.

I do not understand why they have done this to him because he is a president - a democratically elected one.

It is totally illegal.

Forbidden to speak

One hour ago [1430 GMT] they - the military - decided to let my family and I return to our presidential home because we have to get ready to leave Nouakchott.

My father is a popular man so I can't understand why this has happened

They took our phones and forbade anyone to come and see us. They also told me not to speak to the media.

But it is my right to do what I want and my father is the president of Mauritania and no-one can tell me to not speak.

I am speaking on my cousin's phone. I hid it from the majors.

The reality is that the majority of people support my father but the army are using violence to disperse all his supporters so they cannot demonstrate against what has happened.

I have spoken to one of my father's supporters and he told me he is in hiding because the army are looking for him.

Big surprise

I just want someone to liberate my father because he is the president and no-one can take away his power.

Map of Mauritania

The coup came as a very big surprise. Yes, there have been some political problems in the last couple of months but from that to this now, it is a big step.

My father is a popular man so I can't understand why this has happened.

My father is a man of reform but now I see that there are some people who do not want change and so now they have taken the country back to where it was.

I'm sorry but I cannot talk anymore. The security people are at my door and they are listening to me.

[Amal breaks down crying over the phone.]

I am afraid for my father. The rest of our family, we will be OK but I am worried about my father. I don't know if he's safe or not.

I am so tired and too upset.



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