Mauritania expands security amidst Mali fallout fears
[MAGHAREBIA] Mauritania will host international military exercises next week for 19 European, Arab and African countries.
The initiative, which includes members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO
...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It's headquartered in Belgium. That sez it all....
), is part of the enhanced security strategy implemented in response to the crisis in neighbouring Mali.
"The exercises that begin Monday (February 18th) will benefit the Mauritanian state by improving the performance of the army," Colonel Tayeb Ould Ibrahim said Monday in Assaba.
Another move included the opening last weekend of National Gendarmerie commands in eastern and central Mauritania. Battalions and command centres will cover Brakna, Tagant, Gorgol and Guidimaka, Hodh Ech Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi and Assaba.
This heavy military presence covers inland areas that in recent years witnessed serious terrorist incidents, including the abduction and murders of both Mauritanian security officers and westerners.
The new security measures encompass more than two-thirds of the Mauritanian territory, especially high-risk zones adjacent to armed terrorist groups.
"This step comes in the wake of years where hard boyz managed to hit targets in the heart of Mauritanian territory, by taking advantage of the lack of security outside the capital," journalist Mohamed Ould Zein told Magharebia.
"Today, the Mauritanian government realised the need to change that policy and enhanced security presence in the remote provinces that are the target of terrorists," he said.
The move coincides with international efforts to consolidate stability in Mali.
The Mali intervention by African and French forces comes at a time when "the world is calling for combating Islamist snuffies who are threatening the Sahel", Malian journalist Moussa Mega told Magharebia.
Posted by: Fred 2013-02-16