Mauritanian president shot at

Last Updated: Sun, Oct 14, 2012 09:00 hrs

London, Oct 14 (IANS) Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, president of the West African nation of Mauritania, was shot at and wounded in what officials say was an accident, media reports said Sunday.

Citing the Al Arabiya news channel, RIA Novosti said the 55-year-old president was slightly wounded in the neck as his convoy was returning from his farm in the north of the country to the capital city of Nouakchott Saturday.

BBC said he underwent a successful operation on his arm and would travel abroad for further treatment.

Earlier, Communications Minister Hamdi Ould Mahjoub was quoted as saying on national TV that a military patrol had mistakenly opened fire on the presidential convoy.

Initially, Mauritanian radio reported that Abdel Aziz had escaped an assassination attempt.

The minister said Abdelaziz was injured in the arm and that his life was not in danger.

"On his way back to Nouakchott, the presidential convoy was shot by a Mauritanian patrol as they did not recognise his convoy," BBC quoted Mahjoub as saying.

"The Mauritanian people can be reassured, the president is fine... He got out of the vehicle unassisted upon arrival at the hospital, where he walked in without difficulty," he said.

The military hospital, where he was treated, was sealed off by security forces.

Abdel Aziz came to power after he toppled then president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi in a military coup in 2008. He won the presidential elections in 2009 held under an agreement with coup opponents.

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