- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 9, 2003

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (Agence France-Presse) — One month after a failed military coup, Mauritanian President Maaouyah Ould Sid Ahmed Taya has unexpectedly appointed a new prime minister for the Islamist republic in northwest Africa, the official information agency AMI said. Justice Minister Sghair Ould M’Barek, 49, replaced Cheikh El-Avia Ould Mohamed Khouna, who presented his government’s resignation on Sunday, the report said. No official explanation was given for the reshuffle. The new prime minister is a lawyer from a family of Haratines, or former slaves, and is known for his Arab nationalist sympathies, his entourage said. He belongs to the ruling Democratic Social and Republican regime. Last month, he became his party’s federal secretary for Nouakchott, replacing Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Hamadi, who was arrested during investigations into the coup attempt that began June 8.


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