Mauritania army stages coup

This is from AP
I wonder what the U.S. position will be on this. The govt. was freely elected but it has been reaching out to Islamic hardliners which is a no-no for the U.S. Maybe the U.S. will formally criticise the coup but in effect recognise the junta as happened in Thailand. It will request a return to democracy but not with the old guard in power of course but a new government more in line with U.S. thinking.

Mauritania army stages coup; junta takes charge
By AHMED MOHAMED and TODD PITMAN – 59 minutes ago
NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (AP) — Army officers upset with government overtures toward Islamic hard-liners staged a coup in Mauritania on Wednesday, overthrowing the first government to be freely elected in this sprawling desert nation in more than 20 years.
The coup in Africa's newest oil producer took place after the president and prime minister fired the country's top four military officials, reportedly for supporting lawmakers who had accused the president of corruption and disagreed with how he was reaching out to Islamic hard-liners.
A brief announcement read over state television Wednesday said the new "state council" will be led by presidential guard chief Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, one of the four fired generals. The statement also restored the jobs of the other three generals.
President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi was being held by renegade soldiers at the presidential palace in Nouakchott, according to presidential spokesman Abdoulaye Mamadouba. Soldiers also detained Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed Waqef, he said.
State radio and television went off air as the coup began and witnesses said soldiers were deployed throughout the capital. No violence was reported.
The continentwide African Union condemned the coup and said it would send the head of its peace and security council to the Mauritanian capital later this week. The AU's top official, Jean Ping, said in a statement the organization "demands the restoration of constitutional legality."


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