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Old 5 Jan 2008
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Dakar Cancellation, Mauritanian News Stories

Two stories from Mauritanian sources.

Amazing that a hint of terrorism is a big deal but the organised corruption and intimidation at the Mauri/Senegal border crossing at Rosso persists...

Stories from Agence Nouakchott d’Information Translated with software, so apologies for the grammar.




Agence Nouackchott

Cancellation of the Dakar-2008: A real slap in the face for the government: 4.1.2008: 21:07 (ANI)
"It's bad publicity for the image of our country and a huge economic loss for our tourism. Not only that reflects real weaknesses and shortcomings in the unfortunate machinery of the State, especially at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Interior, which have not done their job as it should, but it recalls the riots within about rising prices and what happened in Kankossa where there was death. We need someone pays, we can not continue to bear the mistakes of others, the image of Mauritania is heavily undermined. "That statement that we have received from a fan of the Dakar rally which required anonymity, says a lot about the feeling today that the Mauritanian that cancellation of the Dakar-2008. Our interlocutor pointed out that "the panic of some officials fearful due to the on-media coverage of the two incidents and Aleg El Ghalaouia, which do not reflect the real security of the country, have found in France complacent ear to harden the position of France to push the nail and deprive us of this sporting event and important media. "At the height of the crisis in Mauritania and France during the arrest of Captain Ely Ould Dah, and despite the expulsion of military cooperating french and the introduction of a visa, France had not taken such a step, "he added

Dakar-2008: Cancellation of the rally for security reasons in Mauritania: 4.1.2008: 18:26 (ANI)
The Dakar-2008 rally has been cancelled for the first time in its history, for security reasons, announced the organizers (Amaury Sport Organisation, ASO). A message from Al-Qaeda to the Mauritanian authorities, threatening to hit the French in this country, is at the root of this cancellation, it was learned Friday from a source close to the Paris dossier to the exact content of the message, date and the channel by which it was brought to the attention of Mauritanian authorities have not been specified by the source. This message confirms the willingness and ability of some groups claiming Al-Qaeda to strike French in Mauritania ", it added. "After various exchanges with the french government-especially the Department of Foreign Affairs and given its firm recommendations, the organizers of the Dakar took the decision to cancel the 2008 edition of the rally, scheduled from 5 to January 20 between Lisbon and sénagalaise the capital, "said a press release of ASO which refers to" direct threats against the race by terrorist movements. " "If the slightest thing happened, it was all the credibility of ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation, ndlr) to be called into question", stressed the official announcement before the sports director of France Television - which was to retransmit Dakar-2008 - Daniel Bilalian. "It is in two recommendations prudence of government and I think that the threat to the passage of Mauritania is real beyond the brigandage that have been known in previous years. There is indeed a threat army specific groups, and even suicide bombers ", added Mr. Bilalian. For him, "regardless of the stakes or economic audience, it does not have to commit the lives of competitors in a sporting event. Thursday, the french government has" strongly advised "to the French to visit Mauritania, stressing that this warning was also applicable to french nationals "who do the Dakar-2008 rally." Des About relayed again Friday by the Minister of Foreign Affairs french Bernard Kouchner. "Dakar without Mauritania, this is no longer the Dakar "summed up Thursday in Lisbon biker David Casteu, 2nd in the General last year. Mauritania promised to be both the dish and the justice of the race. marks the halfway stage of the rally in borrowing Indeed Mauritania and a rest day was scheduled to be held in Nouakchott. desert dunes in the country was the top athlete of the event that was to cross into Mauritania on Jan. 11 just to go out until 19, the eve of the arrival . after the assassination But in this country of four tourists french Dec. 24 in an attack attributed by the Mauritanian authorities to radical Islam, the spokesman of the french government Wauquiez Lawrence had said that the Department of Foreign Affairs advised "strongly urges all French to travel to Mauritania until further notice". "That applies to all French, as for the organisation of the Lisbon-Dakar rally," he said. Mauritanian Three soldiers were also killed on the day after the death of the French, that this event is not yet clarified. "Organizers of the rally were informed of the risk assessment, and the french government can only reiterate, in the strongest terms, the advice issued Travellers ", added the spokesman. These statements have taken the organisers by surprise. Immediately after the attack on tourists french, the director of the race Etienne Lavigne had visited Mauritania for s'entretneir in any emergency with the country's authorities. Wednesday evening, with the support of a communiqué from the Mauritanian Government ( "all security measures have been taken to ensure that the transition takes place in peace"), Mr. Lavigne believed that "all conditions Security had been met "especially with the deployment of 4000 men and an" increased aerial surveillance. "During 2007, threats of Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC Algerian) had forced the organisers to cancel two stages while in 2006 and 2000 organizers had put in place to prevent airlifts northern Mali and Niger. (AFP
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Old 16 May 2009
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This is old meat perhaps, but I am surprised noone has uncovered the real story about the attack near Aleg xmas eve 2007.

We applied for Mali visas in Nouakchott on January 2, and when we talked to the consulate secretary about the security situation he opened a drawer and took out pictures (from their visa applications) of the French tourists who were killed/wounded - and what was publizised as an attack on a vacationing French family picnicking with children was likely something else.
The photos showed a middleaged man with two fullgrown sons. The fourth was also fullgrown, a friend of the family.
The secretary implied that it was a business deal gone wrong, and that perhaps they were dealing with arms.
I can only speculate, but I have never seen any updates on what really went down.
We passed Aleg peacefully two days later.
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